Culture, tourism bring Chinese and Thai people together
Culture and tourism are never too far away from each other, says Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), adding that many people come to Thailand to see the culture and experience its customs and traditions.
In recent years, Thailand has become increasingly popular among Chinese tourists. According to a report released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, at least 5.65 million Chinese people visited Thailand during the first half of 2019, and China remains the largest source of tourists.
The deputy governor said that Thailand has extended its free visa upon arrival for Chinese tourists until April 30, 2020.
"Because we value the friendship Thailand has with China, and we value the number of people to come. We want to give them the easiest access and all the facilitation we can," said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya.
Thailand has also been cooperating with Chinese tourist agencies and online e-commerce platforms to promote second-layer tourist programs. Chattan noted that they want to provide Chinese tourists with more unique experiences.
"To bring them closer to nature and closer to culture," the deputy governor added.
Kitsayapong Siri, Permanent Secretary for Culture, said that the exchanges between the young people have also helped to bring the two countries closer. Kitsayapong spoke highly of the China Cultural Center in Bangkok, which was founded in 2012.
"The founding of the Cultural Center has further tightened the cultural exchanges between the two countries," said Kitsayapong, adding that it enables them to better understand each other's art.
"Culture is the foundation of helping two countries to understand different mindset and to promote the exchanges between different peoples," Kitsayapong said.
He added that culture could also boost the development of economy, and create more job opportunities. As many Chinese people know better about Thailand, their interests of investing in the country were also triggered.
The Permanent Secretary of Culture also complimented the Chinese people and leaders for China's achievements in developing its own economy and improving people's lives. He suggested that culture could be used as a carrier, which could help to bond the two countries together.