November 15 saw Bangkok city centre experiencing a lot of traffic jam in the evening but that was actually for a good cause.
Thousands of people were massed along the roads and on skywalks between Siam, Ratchaprasong up to Lumpini Park to enjoy a huge traditional parade with a procession of floats covering all the regions of Thailand as well Thai themes such as gastronomy, sports, hospitality and festivals. Each region was represented by a float reproducing architectural highlights and symbols of Thailand. South was symbolized by Wat Phra Mahathat temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat, the North by Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong (Chiang Mai) while Isaan was symbolized by a reproduction of Phra That Phanom Chedi in Nakhon Phanom. Dancers, acrobats dressed in sparkling costumes entertained during three hours the public.
The ceremony was inaugurated by Thailand Minister of Tourism Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul who recalled the fact that tourism is a major contributor to Thai people’s prosperity as it helps to spread wealth to all social categories in the Kingdom. “This is why the National Tourism Policy Committee has been approving the designation of our ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018’, covering the period of November 1st 2017 to January 1, 2019. The promotion aims to strengthen the Thai tourism industry focus on quality and sustainable tourism”, explained the Minister. Thailand tourism is this year expects to grow by 5.5% to 6% with total arrivals exceeding 33.5 million international travellers.
The parade was also an opportunity to present the ‘Amazing Thailand Year 2018’ logo to the public which represents the Lotus Goddess standing on a lotus in a sacred pond. A symbol of harmony and happiness.
For TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn, “the grand procession offered a glimpse of what each and every visitor to Thailand can look forward to as part of the ‘Amazing Thailand Year 2018’. And the final floats emphasizing activites and services in the tourism industry reiterates that Thailand is a very hospitable country and has welcomed international visitors with open arms throughout its history”.