Local government channels yesterday launched a media blitz promoting the event, with a press launch in Phuket led by Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO) President Rewat Areerob coinciding with another press launch in Phang Nga Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phang Nga Office Director Uthit Limsakul.
Joining Mr Rewat at the Bhukitta Blue Boutique Hotel for the press launch in Phuket were Phang Nga PAO President Tharathip Thongjerm and the new Director of the TAT Phuket Office, Lertchai Wangtrakuldee.
More than 30,000 people are expected to join the event, which will feature fireworks shows, live music concerts, balloons and heart-shaped tunnels in total 30 metres long illuminated with 700,000 LED lights, Mr Rewat said.
Stalls selling local foods and other items will also line the bridge for the event, he added.
The event, called the ‘Baan Phi Muang Nong’ project, was launched by the PPAO to foster good relations between the people of Phuket and Phang Nga, he added, highlighting the importance of the Sarasin Bridge in literally providing a bridge between the two people, Mr Rewat explained.
This year will be the 13th edition of the festival.
“Phuket is a famous tourism province and is well known to both Thai and foreign tourists. Each year, many tourists come to Phuket, generating a lot of income for the country.
“Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and today is joined to Phang Nga by the Sarasin Bridge, Thepkrasattri Bridge and Srisoonthorn Bridge, all crossing the Pak Phra Channel separating Phuket from the mainland,” Mr Rewat explained.
“The Sarasin Bridge was the first bridge between Phuket and Phang Nga to be built, connecting Baan Tha Chatchai in Mai Khao, Phuket, with Baan Tha Noon in Khok Kloi, Phang Nga. The bridge, just six metres wide, opened for public use on July 2, 1967.
“The Thao Thepkrasattri Bridge, 650m long, was built next, opening in 1992, followed by the Thao Srisoonthorn Bridge, now called ‘Sarasin Bridge 2’, opening in 2009,” Mr Rewat continued.
The Sarasin Bridge was closed to traffic and converted to a pedestrian bridge, and has since been transformed into a tourist attraction, complete with a viewing tower built in Sino-Portguese style, he explained.
“Both ends of the bridge have been adjusted to be parking facilities to facilitate tourists. The Sarasin Bridge is one of the best-known tourist attractions in Phuket, and is a key part of helping Phuket’s tourism industry to recover and restoring Phuket as a world-class international tourist destination,” he said.
TAT Phang Nga Office Director Mr Uthit highlighted the importance of the bridges connecting Phuket and Phang Nga and the role they played in tourism for both provinces.
“We have integrated with various agencies to promote tourism with a marketing strategy connecting the Phang Nga tourist route with Phuket under a ‘City to City’ campaign to welcome both Thai and foreign tourists by presenting our local cultural identity and products and services in the area through this event,” he said.
Efforts were underway to set up locations in Phang Nga Town to attract tourists, including ‘Check-in Points’ where tourists can take memorable photos marking their visit, Mr Uthit said.
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