Songkran 'to make biggest splash yet'

Songkran 'to make biggest splash yet'

Festival essential to 'soft power': govt

People splash water at the Songkran Festival on Khao San Road in Bangkok in April last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
People splash water at the Songkran Festival on Khao San Road in Bangkok in April last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

Bangkok is gearing up for this year's celebrations of Songkran, expected to be more extravagant than ever before as the water festival will be organised as part of the government's promotion of Thailand's soft power.

"This year's Songkran [in the city] will be grand as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to make Songkran celebrations a part of the government's soft power promotion policy," Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said on Wednesday.

He was speaking after a meeting held by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) executives to discuss the city's preparations for the festival, to be organised in Bangkok on April 10-18.

Khao San Road will be designated as Bangkok's main Songkran site and will be connected with Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and Sanam Luang -- which have been selected by the TAT to host the "Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024" in the capital, said the governor.

They have been picked along with a number of other Songkran celebration sites elsewhere as well to represent other regions in Thailand.

Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and Sanam Luang are designated as Bangkok's official sites for Songkran celebrations because they demonstrate Bangkok's distinguished identity, said the TAT.

TAT's Maha Songkran World Water Festival 2024 will be held nationwide on April 11-15.

The cabinet had on Feb 20 approved a proposal to divert 104.87 billion baht in the government's central budget to fund the TAT's Songkran festival, which could attract more than 200,000 tourists, Thais and foreigners alike.

This year's festival is expected to help generate around 3.12 billion baht in tourism-related income and make it one of the world's top 10 festivals, according to the TAT.

As they prepare Khao San Road and surrounding areas for the coming festival, Mr Chadchart said the BMA plans to set up a service centre to help travellers through the festival period.

It will also work closely with the Metropolitan Police Bureau to handle traffic at Songkran celebration sites and ensure public safety, said Mr Chadchart.

Security patrols will also be scaled up in areas considered crime- or accident-prone zones, while a number of fast-deployment security forces will be on standby to ensure prompt responses to any major incidents, he said.

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