Subhro Niyogi  / TNN / Updated: May 6, 2023, 10:39 IST

KOLKATA: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is promoting five ‘F’s — food, fight (martial arts), festival, films and fashion — to reach out to more people in Kolkata and tempt them to travel to the country.

With tourist count recording a sharp drop post Covid, TAT, in collaboration with the Thai consulate in Kolkata, is set to launch a three-day Amazing Thailand Festival from May 12-14 at South City mall to woo more tourists from the city and get back to pre-Covid figures.

“Last year, there were around 1 lakh tourists from Kolkata who visited Thailand, down from 2 lakh in 2019. We are launching the festival to attract more tourists to experience Thailand’s scenic beauty, food and culture. We are targeting 75% of pre-Covid figures, or around 1.5 lakh tourists, and will try to get back to 2 lakh next year,” said TAT director (India) Siriges-a-nong Trirattanasongpol.

Kolkata and Bengal account for around 10% of tourists that Thailand gets from India.
While Thai cuisine is popular in Kolkata, the TAT official said tourists have an opportunity to try out global cuisines, including Japanese, Korean and Arabian, at Michelin Star restaurants in Bangkok and other destinations. “We also have a wide range of Indian restaurants,” Trirattanasongpol said.

With people increasingly becoming health conscious, TAT is also promoting Thai martial arts, like Muay Thai. There will be one-day to three-day classes to learn Muay Thai as a fitness exercise. The tourism department is also promoting Thai festivals, like Songkran, that is like Holi without the colours, and Loi Krathong, that is similar to Diwali.

With several Hollywood and Bollywood movies shot in Thailand, TAT is promoting destinations like Ranong, Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta, Phang Nga, Koh Kradan, Phang Nga, Koh Chang, Koh Yai and Chiang Mai.

To attract the fashion conscious, TAT is promoting young designers and local brands, like Kwanko, Sirivannavari, Asava and Poem, which offer a range of both traditional Thai dresses and international costumes.

At present, there are 28 flights a week, with 6,000 seats, between Kolkata and Bangkok. However, Go First’s insolvency has been a setback with the thrice-a-week flight from Kolkata to Phuket no longer in operation. “We are approaching Thai carriers, as well as Indian ones like IndiGo, Air India and Vistara, to look at a direct flight to Phuket as it has immense potential,” Trirattanasongpol said.

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