Kolkata witnesses an unprecedented Thai spectacle
Amazing Thailand Festival 2023 awes over 200,000 people in 3 days
June Mukherjee, May 15, 2023
Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi office organised a mass carnival in collaboration with the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Kolkata under the theme “Amazing Thailand: Part of Your Life” in Kolkata from 12 – 14 May 2023 at South City Mall, Kolkata. It gave a live demo of how a tourism festival can attract and engage people of all ages and from all sections of society towards a foreign destination that is possibly the most popular in the city.
“This year we are expecting two million Indian tourists will be visiting Thailand. We consider Kolkata as a very important gateway in the Indo-Thai relationship. After the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, many Thai students have started returning to West Bengal. This festival is a very big step towards strengthening our bilateral relations”, said Pattarat Hongtong, Ambassador of Thailand in India.
Coming back to the spectacular extravaganza, the colourful show became a superhit programme with a mass footfall of about 200,000 in 3 days. The event witnessed the return of the festival back to the city after 3 years since the COVID-19 pandemic. And, it came back even bigger and better than ever.
The festival was buzzing the South City Mall, Kolkata, a popular hangout for people of all ages with a celebration of many beautiful facets of the land of smiles like Food, Films, Fight, Festivals, and Fashion, manifesting the 5Fs Thailand is promoting.
“The aim of this biggest ever event was to offer authentic and meaningful experiences and features of Thailand that could positively impact an individual’s life, whether physical health, mental wellness, or spiritual fulfilment”, commented Acharapan Yavaprapas, Consul-General of Thailand in Kolkata.
The festival showcased a wide range of activities and attractions such as, live cooking demonstration of authentic Thai cuisine, fashion shows, live action and classes of Muay Thai (kick-boxing), cultural performances including traditional music and dance, the display about the best destinations, accommodations, and activities in Thailand through interactive displays and kiosks from agents and airlines. A team of 30 artists came from Thailand to perform cultural shows, fashion shows, Muay Thai kickboxing, and various workshops. For the first time in Kolkata, people got a feel of Muay Thai LIVE and it became an instant hit. Participation of girls and women of all ages was noteworthy. Ladies wearing Saree came forward to learn Muay Thai and the public cheered them with loud roar. Visitors participated in various workshops on Thai dessert-making sessions, Thai fruit, and vegetable carving art sessions, as well as children in umbrella painting workshops.
“As I love painting, I came to learn the art of umbrella painting. I wanted to have a hands-on experience, I did a full umbrella painting and my Thai artist teacher taught me very well, this will remain in my memory forever”, said Siyona Bose, a student of class VI at Loreto Day School.
“I never thought in my life that in front of such a big crowd, a shy person like me will try kickboxing with a Thai professional wearing a Saree, I am glad that I came seeing the newspaper ad, and thank you for encouraging me, I go back from here with a lot of self-confidence”, said basking Basanti Paul, a homemaker from the suburb of Kolkata.
There is no doubt that many people came who have visited Thailand and at the same time many came with a hope to visit Thailand sooner or later. When The Asian Footprints was talking to many of them in the crowd, many expressed that they will feel comfortable exploring Thailand as someone from their friend or family circle have been to Thailand and suggested that they put the first immigration stamp on their passport with Thailand only. This shows the huge resilience and confidence Thailand has gathered over the years and without stopping its relentless efforts even during the pandemic by being visible through various digital channels so that the country remains on top of people’s minds.
“The event was organized to attract travel enthusiasts of all age groups including millennials to tourist-friendly Thailand, well-known for its seamless blend of modern life against a rich historical background. Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi Office strongly promotes lesser-known tourist destinations of Thailand as well as activities like golfing, women’s group travel, adventure, food trail along with other popular experiences. Along with fight, food, and destination, the tourism department is also promoting Thai festivals like Songkran, the Thai New Year that mostly coincides with Bengali New Year, and Loi Krathong, a festival similar to Indian Diwali”, Siriges-a-nong Trirattanasongpol, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) New Delhi office.
Air Asia was the airline partner of the event and leading travel agents and tour operators like Just Holidays; Gainwell Leisure Holidays; Unique Air Travels; Aaryan Leisure Holidays; and Neptune Tours & Travels participated as event partners in the festival with various attractive tour packages, itineraries, and discounts.
“I can guarantee on behalf of all my fellow Kolkata partners as well as Neptune Tours and Travels that we are extremely happy with this event. All the leading partners got excellent queries from visiting public throughout the days and our booths were buzzing all three days till the show was over. We are thankful to TAT for giving us the opportunity and looking forward to more such partnerships in the future”, said Dinesh Kumar Bhattar, Director of Neptune Tours & Travels.
“We were extremely happy to see how the whole event took a fantastic shape. The event was organised very professionally and we are extremely proud to be a partner of the same”, said Manoj Saraf, Director of Gainwell Leisure Holidays.
“It is one of the best events by any tourism board in Kolkata. The choice of venue was good, artists from Thailand were amazing. We are proud to be a part of the event,” said Amit Sachdev, Director of Unique Air Travels.
“The experience was phenomenal; we got some excellent and different types of queries. People want to visit new places in Thailand and we will be working on that. We are very thankful to Amazing Thailand for doing this kind of colourful mass-focussed show”, said Sanjay Kumar Kothari, Director of Just Holidays.
“It was great experiencing the authentic lifestyle of Thailand in our own City of Joy. The crowd was massive and we got a huge response & many Thailand-related inquiries. We had so much fun at the same time gained more knowledge about Thailand's culture at the festival. Congratulations to team TAT and looking forward to participating in more such events in the future”, said Sanjeev Mehra, Director of Aaryan Leisure Holidays.
“We are extremely glad that Amazing Thailand has organised such a beautiful event in Kolkata. All top outbound agents and operators are our members and we know how important Thailand is for the sustenance of their businesses. We have done partnerships with TAT New Delhi in the past and now looking forward to collaborating in the coming days as well”, commented Amin Asghar, President of Skål International Kolkata.
“We went to Thailand this year as our family’s first foreign trip. And we must say we have fallen in love with the country. We enjoyed it so much, we just came to be a part of this little Thailand once again in Kolkata and we will go back to Thailand again with our friends very soon”, commented Mitali Daripa, a homemaker.
"We have not done a foreign trip yet, but we plan to do one with our close family friends. We think a trip to Thailand is within the budget for all and time and money both can be well-spent. So yes, Thailand is our first choice", said a couple Reema & Padmanava Roy.
Bloggers and social media influencers are very important to Amazing Thailand and in its continued and sustained campaign. On the side-line of the festival, the Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi office organised a Bloggers Rendezvous with the TOP 10 travel influencers of the city for a candid conversation session. All of them have travelled extensively to Thailand and the interactive session was very qualitative and fruitful where many ideas were exchanged on how to promote various tourism genres of Thailand, especially the offbeat trails.
“It was an amazing experience at the Amazing Thailand Festival at South City Mall, Kolkata. Watching Muay was definitely the highlight of the event. The Bloggers Rendezvous interactive session was very insightful. I am looking forward to visiting Thailand again to explore its rich culture, heritage, and history,” commented senior travel columnist Rangan Dutta.
"It was a perfect day out for me at the Amazing Thailand Festival experiencing the power of 5Fs. A wonderfully organised festival in the heart of the city, led people to witness the amazing wonders of Thailand, a country I love very much", said Debjani Lahiri, an award-winning travel blogger popularly known as The Vagabong.
“It is been only six months I am back from Thailand and I am already missing my favourite country and that’s when this Amazing Thailand Festival happened. It rejuvenated me with the authentic sights, sounds, smells, and activities of Thailand. I thoroughly enjoyed everything and feel elated to be a part of it, commented Tanayesh Talukdar, city's leading travel blogger who runs Shoestring Travel.
“Kolkata is a city of rich culture. The Amazing Thailand Festival 2023 enriched the city to the next level by amalgamating its enigmatic Thai culture through this festival once again”, commented YouTuber Arnab Bose, the Travel Regime.
Checking on The Asian Footprints’ core agenda of slow travel and sustainability, we tick all points. The event was taken care of from a responsible tourism point of view. For the good reference of the local crowd, the Bengali version of the Amazing New Chapters official video that was showcased highlighted slow immersive travel and writing new chapters of Thailand in a sustainable way. The fashion show highlighted sustainability with a blend of modern and traditional touches. Products displayed at the festival promoted community-based tourism from Thailand.
The spontaneous participation of the general public with their friends and families in the Kolkata event was strongly observed and that set the tone of the entire show on a very high standard and raised the bar of expectation from Amazing Thailand for the next time.