With the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration this week allowing New Year countdown events to take place, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Phuket will have Mr Bocelli as the highlight of the night, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, reports the Bangkok Post.
“Bocelli’s show in Phuket is confirmed. The event will also feature famous local artists from the 1990s. However, as preventive measures remain necessary, attendees will be limited to those fully vaccinated who have a negative result from an antigen test kit no more than 72 hours before joining the event," said Mr Phiphat.
The event in Phuket is co-hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the private sector. The TAT has allocated B40 million for the event.
In addition to Phuket, the TAT is hosting countdown events in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Rayong, with a total budget of around B150mn.
Mr Phiphat said the TAT did not seek an additional budget from the government as there were leftover funds from fiscal 2021.
The country faced a second wave of COVID-19 starting in November last year and had to cancel most of the 2021 New Year events.
Mr Phiphat said the ministry is preparing this week to propose to the cabinet the new phase of the “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy scheme, with at least 2mn room nights. Also planned is an extension of the “Tour Teaw Thai” tour subsidy programme until the end of April, he said.
With the tour subsidy receiving lukewarm feedback from local tourists, the ministry will discuss with the National Economic and Social Development Council the possibility of returning the leftover budget from this project to the government and seeking additional support for the more popular “We Travel Together” scheme instead, said Mr Phiphat.
If such budget allocation is possible, the scheme might have 3mn room nights available for local tourists, he said.
The third phase of the "We Travel Together" scheme, which wrapped up last week, recorded 636,918 local tourists using privileges at 4,321 hotels nationwide, generating B7 billion.