The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) kicked-off nationwide celebrations to usher in the Chinese New Year of the Dog, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand. The lunar New Year celebrations will be held from 13-23 February, 2018, with an exciting lineup of events for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Present for an official presentation was TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing for Asia and South Pacific, Santi Chutindra. “With millions of Thais of Chinese descent, Chinese New Year has always been a time to celebrate with the family and togetherness across Thailand. This year, locals and international visitors are invited to join in 13 major official celebrations nationwide, each of which is home to large, established Chinese communities,with spectacular food and cultural performances taking centre stage”.
The event is endorsed at the highest level by Chinese and Thai authorities. A New Year greeting ceremony will be held on 15 February, led by H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, Minister of Tourism and Sports, and H.E. Mr. Yang Zhijin, Deputy Minister of Culture from the People’s Republic of China.Th following day, on February 16, the official launch of the Chinese New Year celebrations will take place in Yaowarat, the historic district of the Chinese community in Bangkok, and will be presided by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. It will feature Thailand-China cultural exchange performances by 135 performers from nine provinces of China with traditional Chinese dances and music, martial arts, acrobatic performances and Chinese opera puppets.
“Of course, the colourful celebrations of Chinese New Year appeal a lot to domestic travellers as many Thais have Chinese ancestors. But not only. We think that international visitors can also enjoy the celebrations and are actually invited to venture outside traditional areas and discover Chinese New Year celebrations of other provinces. We identified 13 provinces with a rich Chinese heritage and worth visiting”, said Santi Chutindra.
“By putting 13 different provinces from all of Thailand, we want to encourage travellers to venture to secondary destinations and help them to benefit from tourism activities”, he added.
Official Chinese New Year celebrations at destinations identified by TAT are:
Central Thailand and Bangkok
– Photharam Chinatown Chinese New Year, Ratchaburi, on 5-14 February
– Suphan Buri Chinese New Year, on 16-17 February
– Pak Nam Pho Chinese New Year, Nakhon Sawan, on 9-20 February
– Yaowarat Chinatown Chinese New Year, on 16-17 February
– Chinese New Year, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, on 17-22 February
– Chinese New Year, Phetchaburi, on 15-17 February
– Chinese New Year, Chon Buri (Pattaya), on 16-25 February
– Chiang Mai Chinatown Chinese New Year, on 16-17 February
– Chinese New Year, Nakhon Ratchasima, on 16-18 February
– Udon Thani Chinese New Year, on 16-18 February
– Chinese New Year, Trang, on 16-18 February
– Chinese New Year, Songkhla (Hat Yai), on 16-19 February
– Phuket Chinese New Year and Old Town Festival, on 21-23 February
“I would deeply recommend to international travellers to go to Ratchaburi or Suphan Buri for travellers staying in Bangkok as it is a mere 90 to 120 minutes drive from the capital. As I would also recommend Nakhon Sawan for travellers heading to Sukhothai or Trang for people who wants to have a different vision of the South”, told Santi Chutindra.
Asked if the big Chinese celebrations in Thailand is compatible with the “Kwan Pen Thai” (‘Thainess’) campaign promoted by the government to highlight the specificity of the Thai nation, the Deputy Governor laughed and replied:
“Thailand is actually a blend of different cultures, from India and China among others. Thailand is actually in the heart of Indo-China which very much tells where we come from. And Chinese celebrations are of course part of our DNA and is a wonderful opportunity for non Chinese anywhere in the world to enjoy a colourful, a Thailand-deeply rooted event”.
And what about Chinese travellers?
Said Santi Chutindra: “China is our biggest source market, representing a share of 27%. This is a market we cannot ignore of course. We see the Chinese New Year in Thailand as an opportunity for our Chinese guests to enjoy an event they are familiar with and at the same time discover Thailand culture and way of life!”