“The TAT in its promotional tourism marketing is accelerating the creation of activities in parallel with public relations campaigns to build the confidence among tourists, especially domestic tourists, to return as soon as possible,” Mr Nithi said.
“This will be the main target group that will be able to help rehabilitate and help entrepreneurs in the country’s tourism industry, especially in the three provinces with the main potential on the Andaman coast ‒ namely Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket ‒ so they are able to resume operations after the epidemic situation returns to normal after more than three years,” he added.
“The TAT is confident that this Aqua Lumina festival will be able to stimulate travel to the southern region. Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket are still the main destinations for both Thai and foreign tourists to come back to again, especially during the off-season (Green Season) from May to June,” Mr Nithi said.
Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong pointed out the importance of Phuket’s tourism industry recovering.
“Phuket is an important province in Thailand with strong tourism. It is popular among both Thais and foreigners, and became a tourist city that generated the country’s second largest income as a province, greatly supporting the economy of Thailand,” he said.
“But in the past two years the COVID-19 epidemic has severely affected the tourism industry of Phuket, and the income generated,” he added.
“It has been a huge loss of income,” V/Gov Pichet said.
“But now the COVID-19 situation around the world is expected to ease and there are a number of quality tourists from around the world who plan to travel abroad. This is an opportunity for Thailand as a tourist destination to show its potential in tourism by organising activities covering sports, arts and the culture of Thailand. This is coupled with a combination of innovative, internationally recognized events and activities to achieve the goal of revitalising tourism and the Thai economy,” he added.
The festival began in Krabi last Saturday (May 14), where it will continue until next Wednesday (May 25).
The festival in Phuket is being held at Nai Harn Beach, where 12,000sqm of space has been allocated, from 5pm to 10pm each night through to May 31.
The Phuket edition, held under the theme "Guardian Land of the Andaman", features Illuminated sculptures and multimedia shows, as well as “projection mapping” that will 3D images with light.
Local bands, artists and other performers will be providing the entertainment, and of course there will be plenty of local food available, provided by local chefs, street vendors and restaurants on the island.
Prizes will also be up for grabs for people attending the event, which will be open to the public from 5pm to 10pm each night.
Free shuttle buses to and from the Aqua Lumina activities area at Nai Harn beach have been organised to reduce traffic congestion at Nai Harn and to make it easier for people in the centre of the island to join the festivities.
The free shuttle buses will depart the three main pickup points at Phuket Municipality Market 1 (Downtown) on Ranong Rd in Phuket Town, Central Floresta shopping mall on the bypass road and at Karon Beach (Nong Harn Park) at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.
Returning free shuttle buses will depart the Aqua Lumina area at Nai Harn at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and 10:30pm.
The festival will conclude with the Phang Nga edition from May 27 - June 2, at Memories Beach in Khao Lak, under the concept of "The Land of Dancing Waves".
Entry to any of the festivals is free.