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dipti Nair

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently organised a familiarisation tour of Thailand called '84 Perspectives of Thailand' as part of TAT's 'Women's Journey Thailand' Campaign. The tour was organised to honour Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who turns 84 on August 12, making August 'Women's month' in Thailand, meaning that women travellers will be able to enjoy a huge range of activities, special offers, discounts and special privileges on products and services throughout this month.
As part of the familiarisation tour, 84 media representatives that included journalists, writers, bloggers and photographers, from Qatar and around the world were invited to explore the Kingdom of Thailand and experience the best of its culture.
The group, which was understandably dominated by women, got an opportunity to experience different facets of Thailand and was aimed to spread the message that Thailand is not just a male holiday destination but offers many opportunities and facilities for women travellers too. Members of the media also got the opportunity to see and experience first-hand the various enterprises undertaken by the Queen and His Majesty the King that mostly focuses on rehabilitation of tribal arts and crafts, appropriate use of natural resources, environmental protection and self-sustainability for the villages.
Members of the media were divided into four groups and travelled to the Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern parts of the country. They also saw some of Bangkok's most popular and important attractions including the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the newly-opened Queen's Gallery and the opulent 'Arts of the Kingdom' at Dusit Palace's Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.
The trip started off with a grand welcome reception at the Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall, which is located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. At the reception, Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul expressed her gratitude to the guests in a passionate speech, saying that the Thai government desired to turn the country into a luxury holiday destination. The event was attended by the who's who of Thailand and neighbouring countries.
The next day, the four media groups took off in different directions accompanied by tour guides, TAT officials and photographers to enjoy first-hand local and new experiences in amazing Thailand.
The delegates to the North went to the provinces of Chiang Mai and Lampang and visited the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden and the Nong Hoi Royal Project Development Centre. They also got the opportunity to visit villages and learn about local crafts and farming techniques and enjoy the architectural beauty of the many temples.
The group that went to the northeast experienced indigo dyeing and indulged in making ceramics along with seeing the important work done at Phu Phan's research and development centre.
Visitors to the south enjoyed the beaches of Phuket and Phang-nga, released turtles into the sea and planted mangroves.
The Central region, represented by Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, gave visitors the opportunity to see the Ban Khao Tao handicraft weaving works initiative along with visiting local agricultural projects and spas.
The delegates to each of the regions had wonderful unique experiences interacting with the locals and sampling the fantastic Thai cuisine.
The trip concluded with a grand farewell party held at the Nai Lert Park Heritage Home in Bangkok, where the delegates could relive their memories from the trip with a video montage. Representatives from each group also shared their joint experiences and their perspectives on Thailand. The evening was an embodiment of what Thailand is famous for sumptuous food, traditional music and incredible hospitality.
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