Thai PM welcomes Tesla mission to Chiang Mai

BANGKOK: Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin on Tuesday (Nov 28) evening welcomed executives of Tesla, a leading American electric vehicle manufacturer, to the Yi Peng Festival held at the pier in front of Muang Chiang Mai City Hall, Chiang Mai province.

Joining the PM in welcoming foreign guests was Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who also serves as vice chairperson of the government’s soft power strategic committee.

Srettha invited Tesla executives to release decorated floats or ‘krathong’ onto the Ping River, before greeting festival goers as well as tourists visiting Chiang Mai.

Yi Peng is a Lanna-style Loy Krathong festival held during the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar. Northern locals celebrated the festival by decorating their homes with lanterns and floating floral krathong on water bodies.

The Yi Peng events on Tuesday included a parade of 22 giant lanterns by local communities and district organisations, cultural performances and a decorated krathong contest to win a trophy from His Majesty the King.

Srettha said that seeing Chiang Mai’s krathong contest is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, adding the northern tourist city is rich in soft power that helps attract foreign visitors and boost the local economy.

The PM also urged Chiang Mai locals to show hospitality to overseas visitors so that they would consider visiting Thailand again.

Thailand is trying to close a major investment deal worth US$5 billion with Tesla, Srettha said in an exclusive interview with the “Nation Inside” programme earlier this month.

He revealed that Tesla is poised to invest over $5 billion in Thailand. A second-tier management mission overseeing Tesla's investment plans had now arrived in Thailand to inspect factory locations, and the opportunity would be taken to showcase Thailand’s culture and traditions, he said. - The Nation/ANN

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