Lisa 'unavailable' for New Year countdown

Lisa 'unavailable' for New Year countdown

A woman shopper looks at
A woman shopper looks at "rad klao" headgear in the Sam Peng area of Bangkok, similar to the headdress worn by K-pop singer "Lisa" Manoban in her latest video, which is also selling well. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Thai-born singer Lalisa "Lisa" Manoban, a member of K-pop group Blackpink, is not available to perform at the New Year countdown in her homeland, managing agency YG Entertainment has announced.

In a brief statement in Thai and English, the South Korean agency reacted to "the news that Lisa Lalisa Manoban has confirmed to join the Countdown Event in Thailand".

"We are very grateful and honoured for such a proposal to appear, but unfortunately Lisa will not be able to attend the event. We hope that there should not be any confusion. Thank you."

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the announcement was sent to the TAT's Seoul office.

TAT respected the decision and hoped to work with Lisa in the future, he said.

TAT would then organise events under the concept “Reopen Thailand: Culture and Tourism Festival” in tourism pilot areas, or blue zone provinces, and other areas, Mr Yuthasak said.

The events would feature local artists in various genres of music  and promote the tourism industry on both domestic and international markets, he said.

The announcement by YG Entertainment was a blow for Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, who had declared several times Thailand would invite the K-pop singer to appear in the New Year countdown in Phuket.

He said his ministry planned to spend about 100 million baht inviting Lisa and Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli to perform at the New Year countdown.

The minister said it would show the world that Thailand was ready to fully reopen next year  to tourists from everywhere.

Thailand will lift its mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated visitors from 45 countries and Hong Kong from Monday, in a bid to revive the dormant tourism sector, a major source of national income brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said earlier that it was time for Thai people to regain their livelihoods and live with Covid-19.

The country logged 9,658 new Covid-19 cases and 84 more fatalities on Wednesday, health offcials said on Thursday.

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