Barely days after Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the reopening of the country to fully vaccinated travellers from 10 countries from 1 November, the authorities are already planning a high-profile New Year’s Eve celebration to boost tourism.
Invited to join the year-end celebrations in Phuket and Bangkok respectively are Thai-born Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban of K-pop girl group Blackpink, and Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli.
The starlet in particular has recently been in the news for single-handedly raising a quiet Thai province's fame to new heights, after featuring its attractions in her first solo music video.
To that end, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that Lisa has the potential to attract visitors from Asian countries where the Thai K-pop sensation has a strong fan base.
The events are organised to attract both Thais and foreign tourists to celebrate the reopening of Thailand and drive tourism to the country.
There are plans to hold the Phuket party on the Sarasin Bridge, which connects the tourist island with neighbouring Phang Nga province, while the Bangkok event could be held on Sanam Luang (Royal Field) with the Grand Palace as the backdrop.
A budget of 200 million baht (US$6 million) has been set aside for the countdown parties, according to Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. Health and safety protocols are being discussed for the massive events to prevent Covid outbreaks, Phipat added.
While tourism officials are busy sending out invites to the two superstars, another celebrity is already in town after entering the country through the Phuket Sandbox.
Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who is currently in Thailand to film a Vietnam-era war movie called The Greatest Beer Run Ever, has been posting messages and photos about his Sandbox experience at Amanpuri in Phuket.
The actor also shared several selfies of himself around Bangkok and photos of tuk-tuks, Chinese shrines and Thai temples, creating a buzz ahead of Thailand’s 1 November reopening.
It sure looks like the stars are aligned for Thailand’s reopening act.