Imagine a vibrant scene on February 2, 2024, where the heart of Bangkok buzzes with excitement and the air carries the scent of celebration. This isn’t just any day at the Phrom Phong BTS SkyTrain station; this is the momentous opening of the “Happy Chinese New Year @ BTS SkyTrain” ceremony. Picture Han Zhiqiang, the esteemed Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand, joining forces with Thailand’s very own luminaries – Sudawan Wangsuphakitkosol, the dynamic Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sermsak Pongpanich, the cultured Minister of Culture, and Keeree Kanjanapas, the visionary Chairman of BTS Group Holdings Public Company Limited. Together, they usher in an era of festivity and friendship.
In strides Kriengsak Tantipiphop, CEO of EM District, with a warm welcome that lights up the room, showcasing the true spirit of Thai hospitality. The event, a brainchild of collaboration between the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Thailand and BTS Group since 2023, not only celebrates the “Happy Chinese New Year” but also strengthens the cultural bonds between China and Thailand. This year, they’ve pulled out all stops to promote the illustrious Year of the Dragon, bringing to life the “Nihao! China” tourism campaign on their media platforms from January 25 to February 24, 2024.
The ceremony was nothing short of spectacular, with the Ambassador, ministers, and BTS executives heartwarmingly distributing 150 sets of auspicious oranges to those gathered. Each orange, a symbol of good fortune, was a beacon of hope for prosperity, progress, and endless good vibes throughout the year. Han Zhiqiang, with a sparkle in his eye, shared that the “Happy Chinese New Year” isn’t just a celebration, it’s a global cultural phenomenon, championed by China since 2004 and embraced by Thailand with open arms.
This year’s celebration features the “Jixiang Dragon”, a mascot that transcends borders, embodying peace, happiness, and hope. Imagine the joy as this delightful mascot, in the form of snuggly dolls, finds a new home with the officers of the BTS Skytrain and passengers alike. It’s like adding a sprinkle of magic to the festive atmosphere!
Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol painted a picture of a future where tourism flourishes like never before, with a predicted influx of over 200,000 Chinese tourists during the golden period of February 8 – 16, 2024. The anticipated economic boom, with earnings estimated at 34,390 million baht, is a testament to Thailand’s commitment to welcoming visitors with open arms, especially with the visa exemption measures stirring up even greater excitement.
Amidst all this, the renewal of the visa exemption for ordinary and official passport holders, effective from March 1, 2024, stands as a symbol of the half-century-long friendship between Thailand and China. With safety and hospitality as top priorities, Thailand ensures that every visitor not only feels welcomed but also cherished and protected, reinforcing the “Safety in Thailand” initiative.
Mr Sermsak Pongpanich’s wishes for happiness, prosperity, and fulfilment resonate deeply, reflecting the spirit of cultural exchange and mutual appreciation. This festive season, he envisions Thailand as a cinematic paradise, inviting Chinese filmmakers and tourists to capture and experience the beauty, identity, and safety of Thailand through the lens of its vibrant film industry.
Mr Keeree Kanjanapas highlighted the mutual visa exemption agreement as a milestone in Thailand-China relations, promising a stronger bond and a flurry of cultural exchanges. With enhanced safety measures from the BTS SkyTrain and the integration of WeChat Pay, the journey of Chinese tourists in Thailand is set to be seamless, adding a touch of convenience and safety to their adventure.
Wrapping up the festivities, Mr. Keeree’s thoughts on Chinese New Year bring us back to the essence of the celebration – a time of togetherness, joy, and the making of cherished memories. “For me, Chinese New Year is a time of red envelopes for children, a time of rest for adults, and a time for families to fully celebrate and create moments of happiness together. I wish everyone wealth and health for this Chinese New Year.”
So, as the “Happy Chinese New Year @ BTS SkyTrain” ceremony unfolds, it becomes clear that this is more than just an event; it’s a bridge of friendship, joy, and cultural exchange between China and Thailand, making the world a tad smaller, one celebration at a time.