On May 14th 2016 marked the grand opening of the 17th Thai Festival under the theme, “Thai Festival 2016 – Discover Thailand’s BEST” inviting Japanese to search for the “best of Thailand” in various aspects. The festival was held on 14th-15th May 2016 from 10:00 AM – 20:00 PM. Honored guest from Thailand includes: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai / Minister of Industry, H.E. Mrs. Atchaka Sribunruang / Her Majesty’s Deputy Private Secretary, Thanpuying Supornpen Luangthepnimit / Deputy Secretary General of Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center / Vice Governor of Ubonratchathani Province and on the Japan side includes: State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Seiji Kihara / Vice Govenor of Tokyo, Mr. Nobuhiro Maeda / Director-General for Regional Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Chairman of Japan-Thailand Association (JTA) and Chairman of the Japan-Thailand Business Forum (JTBF), Mr. Teisuke Kitayama.
The purpose of the Thai Festival is to promote Thai food and culture through food, products and performances. The festival started in the year 2000 with only 30,000 visitors however in the present, there are about 300,000 visitors each year and it is spread out to other prefectures in Japan such as Osaka Prefecture, Nagoya Prefecture, Sendai Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture, showing that Thailand’s popularity in Japan. And for this year’s Thai Festival is more special than the previous with restaurant, shops, drinks and fruits booths up to 189 booths and the Thai Village, an exhibition in the theme of a Thai Village to promote some of Thailand’s top products and services from various organizations such as, Queen Sirikit Institute, PatPat Shop by The Chaipattana Foundation, Phufa Shop, The Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (Public Organization), Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Industry, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Air Asia X. Moreover, there were performances by Thailand’s top artists including Takkatan Chonlada / Pao Paowalee / 4 Podum / Kangsom Thanatat / Hunz Issariya / James Jirayu / VieTrio / Tiger Club and Miss Thailand Group.
During the opening ceremony, Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai gave the opening speech expressing his condolences regarding the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake and other affected areas in Kyushu. He also emphasized about the tight relations between Thailand and Japan in every aspect from the Royal Family down to the people and especially the tight relations between people-to-people of both countries proven by this festival having 300,000 people visiting every year. Moreover, this year is considered to be an auspicious year because this year celebrates the Seventieth Anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne and this year also celebrates the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s 7th cycle birthday anniversary. In addition, next year will be the celebration of 130 years of Thailand-Japan relations. He hopes everyone would find their own Thailand’s “best”.
On the other hand, Mr. Seiji Kihara, State Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that it was an honor for him to be invited to join the Thai Festival which is a chance for visitors to know more about Thai Culture. Also, last week, he followed Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to visit Thailand whom sent his congratulations to the success of the Thai Festival and he invites everyone to enjoy the festival including the exhibition of the Royal Projects by the royal family, and top selected products and services of Thailand. Moreover, since next year will mark the 130th year of relations between Thailand and Japan, the government of both countries will be holding several events throughout the year and he hopes that the success of this year’s event will continue to bring success to other events that will be held in the future throughout next year.