BANGKOK (The Nation Thailand/ANN): A Thai government committee plans to hold Songkran Festival celebrations during the entire month of April 2024, instead of the traditional three days, in a bid to entrench Thailand’s standing among the top 10 global destinations for festivals.
Songkran, the Thai traditional new year, falls on April 13, which is also National Elderly Day.
Two more holidays were later added on April 14 and 15 as National Family Day and Thai New Year Day, respectively, to allow the Thais more time to celebrate reunion with their families.
Populist party Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who chairs the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, announced the plan on Dec 1 on her Facebook page.
She said that the soft power plan for 2024 has started, with 12 subcommittees across 11 industries proposing budgets to boost the creative economy.
“Another exciting topic discussed today was the plan for Songkran Festival next year,” said Paetongtarn.
“The next Songkran will not be the same as previous years, as we are preparing a grand event ‘World Water Festival – The Songkran Phenomenon’.”
Paetongtarn said 2024’s Songkran would be a world-class event, celebrated not just for three days but the whole month of April, in all 77 provinces across the kingdom.
Chairperson of the festival industry promotion subcommittee Chadatip Chutrakul said that the water festival will be a celebration of the Thai new year being listed as Unesco’s world cultural heritage.
“The central location for the Songkran celebrations next year will be Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok for three days and three nights,” she said. “Representatives from each of the 77 provinces will send in a parade to highlight their culture and tourist attractions.”
She added that stage performances and exhibitions will be held across key locations in Bangkok during the Songkran Festival, including Sanam Luang, Lan Khon Mueang town square, and Royal Pavilion Mahajetsadabadin.
On Nov 30, the committee met and finalised a budget of 5.164 billion baht (S$200 million) to promote Thailand’s soft power, which will in return generate revenue for tourism and related industries.
Ms Chadatip estimates that the Songkran Festival will generate at least 35 billion baht in revenue for the tourism industry and local communities.
The committee expects to submit its proposal to the Cabinet for approval in January. - THE NATION THAILAND/ASIA NEWS NETWORK