In a bid to woo tourists from Thailand the Assam Tourism Development Corporation is contemplating to organise Thai festival of Songkran in the state.
Improving the relation with ASEAN countries has been one of the main focuses of the Sarbananda Sonowal government. This was evident from the recently concluded Advantage Assam– Global Investment Summit also where lot of importance was given to building relationship with the neighbouring countries. Keeping that in mind, Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) is also looking at new ways to woo these countries, especially Thailand.
Speaking exclusively to Northeast Now, Kausar J Hilaly, Managing Director, ATDC said there are plans to attract Thai people through the festival of Songkran which is very popular in their country.
“Assam has a very old relation with Thailand. Culturally, we have lot of similarities. So, in the wake of improving relation with ASEAN countries, we are looking at increasing tourist inflow from Thailand. Though the princess of Thailand has visited Assam in the past, their common folks don’t visit Assam as tourists much. It is always us who visit Thailand as tourists. I think we need to change that” he said.
Hilaly said that there are plans to attract Thai people through Songkran festival. Songkran is the Thai new year’s festival. The Thai New Year’s Day is April 13 every year, but the holiday period includes April 14–15 as well.
“Songkran is celebrated by many communities in Assam. Here it is called Sangken. We want to create cultural assimilation between Thailand and Assam with this festival. We will organize various events to attract Thai people. We will soon send the required proposal to our ministry” Hilaly said.
The festival is known for its celebration using water. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other. Songkran derives its name from Makar Sankranti, the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India in January to mark the arrival of spring.