The Silk Road to prosperity
Key industry unites to beat Covid blues
Thailand's silk industry is pulling out all the stops to attract tourists as the country prepares to reopen its borders to foreigners.
The Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture on Wednesday launched a special event, "Creative Local Silk Tourism for the World" that will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Iconsiam complex by the Chao Praya River in Bangkok.
The two-day event, initiated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, will be a platform to showcase "Thai Silk Road" products through a variety of activities over the next three years.
Department chief Wasan Nuipirom explained that silk farmers have suffered a decline in income because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
His department was therefore offering all the support it could, including holding trade fairs and other events in all 77 provinces.
However, Mr Wasan conceded the multi-billion-baht a year industry needed much more than trade fairs alone.
"We are lucky to have great two partners, who are helping us find a good resolution for silk-making communities countrywide," he said.
"It is a perfect match -- tourists can learn about Thai silk culture and the communities can sell their silk products.
"This is the best way to help everyone during the pandemic."
Edward Kiti, founder of the Tourist Assistance Foundation, said visitors at next week's fair would be able to scan QR codes to learn about communities in each province.
Google Maps links would also be available to specify all the locations, together with sightseeing attractions within a five-kilometre range.
"It is incredible that all the provinces have their own silk-making communities and that each is different in its weaving style, telling a different story in each place," he said.
"Silk-making is Thai wisdom and this is the perfect time for all Thai people to help each other."
Noppapon Pakprot, deputy governor for domestic marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the country needed local tourists to stimulate the economy. He felt there was already a healthy amount of domestic tourist travel but people would still prefer to travel for longer, spend a night somewhere, maybe enjoy a cruise.
However, Mr Noppapon was confident the situation would improve after next month as the country enters its peak tourist season.
He estimated the number of domestic tourists had risen by 40% since the government started relaxing measures against the spread of Covid-19.