Amazing Thailand at ATF 2019 issued the latest tourism figures that showed continued growth with 28.5 million visitor arrivals in the first 10 months of 2018 – a 8.7% increase year-on-year. More than 70,000 Irish people travelled to the kingdom last year.
Chattan Kunjara No Ayudhya, Deputy Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, gave a very informative briefing to the media at ATF 2019.
Planning is in train to promote 85 secondary destinations, with the selected destinations coming from those with less than four million visitors per annum. This will done on a tiered basis with tier A, B, C, etc.
It is also hoped that work can begin this year on a high-speed train link from Bangkok to Hua Hin.
Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony
The award-winning Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony celebrates its 23rd consecutive year of Neptune-like nuptials under the Andaman Sea, while raising awareness about preserving Trang’s natural beauty by promoting coral reef conservation in Southern Thailand.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has successfully positioned the Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony as one of Thailand’s top international events, driven in part by the annual attention from the media and influencers promoting both Trang and Thailand.
The first one took place in 1997 with a global invitation sent out offering scuba-diving couples the unique opportunity to get married under the sea. Since then the Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony has captured the imagination of the world. In 2000, it was declared the largest underwater wedding ceremony by the Guinness Book of Records. In 2007, the Thai government named it one of the country’s national identity projects, then in 2013 the event received a Thailand Tourism Award. This year, a total of 20 couples from Thailand and overseas are expected to attend a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive deep and tie the knot. The 23rd Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony is scheduled from 12th to 14th February 2019, with an action-packed calendar of events. The event starts on the morning of 12th February when all registered couples join a welcome ceremony at the Thumrin Thana Hotel before joining a traditional Thai wedding parade with local high school marching bands from the hotel to the Trang Clock Tower.
The big day arrives on 13th February when all couples travel to Pak Meng Pier for a boat transfer to the Emerald Cave for the ‘Underwater Wedding registration’ and the ‘Rot Sai Sang‘ ritual to complete the marriage. This is done in front of the Emerald Cave at the depth of eight metres, followed by a photo session. In the afternoon, there is an evening wedding reception at Pak Meng Beach where the married couples receive their official marriage certificate. On 14th February, all head out to Wat Khao Mai Kaeo to ring the bell and gong for happiness and prosperity. Lastly, the newlyweds visit two of Trang’s oldest shrines, the Tam Gong Yai Shrine and the Governor’s Residence before flying home.
Couples must present the following documents on application to be eligible for the event: a copy of their ID card or passport, copy of their house registration (for Thais only), and a copy of a scuba licence and dive log book. All participants need to provide their own masks, wetsuits, and fins.
The wedding certificate received is merely a certificate of participation in the Trang Underwater Wedding Celebration 2019 and is not legally binding.