The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is moving aggressively to promote the country as host of the World Exposition in 2020 after large numbers of Thais got behind its latest campaign, a competition to design the official mascot and logo.
The bureau yesterday announced the winners for both the logo and mascot, Suphap Roungsean, 41, and Parin Suriyavuth, 26, respectively.
The bureau had been encouraging the public to participate in the campaign since June and received more than 1,000 entries. The entries were narrowed down to 720 ideas and then to just 10 - five for the logo and five for the mascot - in the final round.
Suphap's idea was a green planet shape with a Thai prajamyam design, while Parin won the logo competition with a Thai kinnaree: a female angel-like figure representing feminine beauty and grace.
Each of the winners will receive Bt100,000 cash, a certificate and a trophy.
Panidol Jayapani, vice president of the Advertising Association of Thailand (AAT), said all participants had to feature five key messages and elements of the theme "Redefine Globalisation - Balanced Life, Sustainable Living".
TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart said he would return to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) today to report on progress since the launch last September of Thailand's bid to become host country of World Expo in 2020.
"Since the government approved the project, there have been no disagreements from anybody. Moreover, 400 private organisations will support the project, which is a very good sign," Akapol said.
Only Turkey is a serious competitor, he said, and it was launching campaigns to compete with Thailand.
Chanin Donavanik, chief executive officer of Dusit International, one of the largest hotel chain operators in Thailand, said that if the country were able to host World Expo 2020, the entire country would gain a lot of hospitality-related business.
Moreover, the event would help boost the country's image, particularly as an exhibition centre.
"Over the past 10 years, Thailand has never hosted any really global events, except Royal Flora five years ago. If we are able to run the World Expo, it would help the entire economy," Chanin said.
He added that most neighbouring countries had developed new attractions and events to draw international visitors and Thailand should respond in kind to remain tourists' preferred destination.
Piyaman Tejapaibul, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said Thailand had been the most popular destination in the region for many years.
The council expects to see about 19 million arrivals next year, similar to the figure officially predicted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.