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Ayutthaya historical site 90% dry is reopened for tourism

Ayutthaya has been chosen for the official launch of the restore-and-recovery “Beautiful Thailand” campaign because of its proximity to Bangkok and status as one of Thailand’s cultural and historic icons.

Olivier Languepin

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Ayutthaya has been chosen for the official launch of the restore-and-recovery “Beautiful Thailand” campaign because of its proximity to Bangkok and status as one of Thailand’s cultural and historic icons. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also visited Ayutthaya to support new TAT campaign.

As the flooding situation in Thailand has stabilized and flood waters are receding, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is accelerating its efforts to ensure travellers and tour operators worldwide to understand that Thailand’s tourism sector is open for business and welcoming visitors through a recovery campaign called “Beautiful Thailand.”

“For the past several months, the TAT has been reaching out to media worldwide and tour operators to give them an accurate picture of the situation in Thailand. We made it very clear that most of Thailand’s tourist destinations were welcoming visitors, the airport was operating and inner Bangkok was dry. We also emphasized that there was really no need to avoid coming to Thailand during the high season,”

said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

The ancient capital of Siam had been flooded for several weeks, but is now reopened for visitors. On this picture, traces left by high waters are still visible

According to Governor Suraphon, the most effective strategy to restore tourist confidence and build lasting momentum for the Thai tourism sector is to focus on value-added services and warm Thai hospitality, not engage in price cutting.

The only main temple still flooded is Wat Chaiwatthanaram.

“We are proceeding carefully, as we were advised that pumping the water too quickly might damage temple foundation. Flooding is not unusual in this part of the country, but this time the duration has been longer than previously and might have create more damages. We are closely monitoring the situation with a network of camera to measure the tilting of the most important structures; so we can know when to intervene if necessary.”

said Mr. Supoj Prommanoj Director of the Office of Archaeology, Fine Arts Department at Wat Mahathat.

In 2010, Ayutthaya attracted over 6.5 million domestic and international visitors

Although there are numerous attractions, the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park in the heart of Ayutthaya city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visitors marvel at its grandeur reflected through numerous magnificent temples and ruins concentrated in and around the city, which is located upon an “island” surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lopburi Rivers.

In 2010, Ayutthaya attracted over 6.53 million domestic and international visitors, up 82.37% over 2009, generating an estimated of 9 billion Baht for tourism income.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited Ayutthaya to support new TAT campaign, Beautiful Thailand

During January – October 2011, international visitor arrivals Thailand totalled 15.8 million, up 25% over the same period of 2010. For 2011, the TAT is projecting 18.3-18.6 million international visitor arrivals with estimated revenue earnings of 703-716 billion baht (US$ 22.7-23 billion) in tourism revenue.

A team of experts from Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Thailand put together by the UN Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) are surveying Ayutthaya to formulate recommendations for a short- and long- term restoration plan to be presented to the Thai government, UNESCO said in a statement. Thai

Culture Minister H.E. Mrs Sukumol Kunplome met with the experts before their departure.

According to the Ministry of Culture’s Department of Fine Arts, the entire historic island of Ayutthaya and its surrounding area was submerged by the floods for over a month since 4 October 2011. In some areas, the flood waters reached a height level of approximately 3 metres. More than 100 historic monuments in and around the Ayutthaya World Heritage Site have been affected.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday visited Ayutthaya to boost morale of flood victims while affirming that the government is expediting rehabilitation work in the affected central provinces.

Accompanied by deputy prime minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, and Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri, the prime minister attended an event to revive flood-hit Ayutthaya at Wat Kasattrathirat.

The prime minister told all parties to work together to restore flood-hit areas, public utilities and historical sites.

Source Web site: www.tatnews.org

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