The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be focusing its New Year’s Eve celebrations on the riverside landmark of Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) this year.
Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-ocha, will lead the festivities on 31 January 2015, although events will take place up and down the Chao Praya River from 29 December onwards.
“During the New Year festive season, Thailand has launched several activities to promote tourism for domestic and international travellers. Among those activities, the Thailand Countdown 2016 at Wat Arun is set to help reinforce the good image of Thailand as a tourist destination to the world. This grand celebration is also to commemorate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday anniversary and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 84th birthday,” explained Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT.
As the clock strikes 12, Wat Arun’s spires will be illuminated with a nine-minute pyrotechnic display of 5,574 fireworks – 2,016 to ring in the global New Year, 2,559 to mark the Buddhist Year, and 999 to pay homage to HM the King of Thailand.
Following the fireworks, a 45-minute multi-media display, entitled ‘Chronicle of the Land’, will be projected onto the stupa of Wat Arun, accompanied by music from the Mahanakhorn Philharmonic Orchestra and Usa Asil, the first multi-cultural ASEAN music ensemble.
Across the river, a 300-metre stretch of road will be turned into a walking street, with a market selling products from across the country. This market will be open for three days from 29–31 December.
“We would like to give this grand celebration as a special present to Thai and International tourists for this New Year occasion. The Thailand Countdown 2016 at Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya Riverbank will attract more travellers around the world as well as encourage re-visitors to Thailand. Moreover, this event will mark Thailand as one of the world’s countdown destinations in the New Year celebration calendar,” said Yuthasak added.
The TAT estimates that from 31 December 2015 to 4 January 2016, Thailand will earn around THB15.3 billion (US$422 million) in tourism revenues, with an estimated 470,000 international tourists and 2.73m domestic trips being taken.