Famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is already confirmed to perform at the countdown event in Phuket, however, Thai-born K-pop singer Lisa’s presence needs to be finalised again because of her packed schedule, particularly at the end of the year, reports the Bangkok Post.
Meanwhile, the tourism permanent secretary and the TAT will coordinate with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand to help invite Lisa as the government’s guest, the Bangkok Post also reported.
“The main key reason for bringing global artists for the New Year celebration is to announce to the world that Thailand is ready to fully reopen for tourists from everywhere in 2022,” said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
He said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had contacted the agencies representing Lisa and Italian opera singer Bocelli about the New Year countdown event with a combined budget of US$3 million, or B100 million.
Many agencies have tried to approach Lisa, which had caused a lot of confusion after the news spread, therefore a formal invitation from the state authorities will be a clearer and more effective way to communicate with her company, he added.
After reopening for vaccinated travellers from 46 low-risk countries without quarantine and area restrictions from Nov 1, the TAT plans to organise a series of events in December from memorial ceremonies for the 2004 tsunami in Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga to New Year events to drive travel sentiment.
Mr Phiphat said the countdown celebration is expected to take place at Sarasin Bridge, a landmark which tells the island’s famed love story (of two forbidden lovers taking their lives by leaping from the bridge).
However, the ministry is also considering other locations that meet safety criteria and have the capacity to hold over 10,000 participants as there are three to four places that the owners have already nominated to host the event.
Thanusak Phungdet, President of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, has already proposed the concert performance be held at Surakul Stadium in Phuket Town, with the funds spent on repairs and maintenance at Phuket’s largest sporting venue.
Mr Phiphat said the ministry will also discuss safety and health guidelines for mass gatherings with the Public Health Ministry.
In principle, participants including international travellers and Thais have to show negative test results by using antigen test kits to join the event.
Mr Phiphat said the New Year event might not have to collect any entrance fee.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports will be requesting from the Cabinet a budget needed to hire K-Pop superstar Lisa and world-renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli to perform at this year’s Phuket countdown event, reports state news agency NNT.
Mr Phiphat said the plan had yet to be finalized, as the Ministry of Tourism and Sports needs to review the details of both celebrities’ contracts.
The minister said the plan, including the required budget, will be proposed at the mobile Cabinet retreat in Krabi province on Nov 15-16.
He believes the presence of both celebrities will help boost Thailand’s economy, adding that the ministry will be inviting private firms to help sponsor this special event.
The B100mn budget already touted to bring the two stars to perform in Phuket has drawn widespread criticism, with many people posting comments online calling for the money to be spent on helping people suffering deep financial hardship due to the COVID-prevention measures and the collapse of the tourism industry.
Last year Phuket’s economy contracted a massive 85% without international tourists coming to the island.