Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Nopadol Gunavibool,
Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Luxembourg,
At “Amazing Thai Weekend 2015”, 9 May 2015, Groenplats, Antwerp
Alderman Philip Heyden,
Colleagues from the Diplomatic Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to “Amazing Thai Weekend”, here in the City of Antwerp. This is the third time that the Royal Thai Embassy, with the continued support and cooperation of the City of Antwerp, has organised this event here at Groenplats in Antwerp. Unfortunately, Mayor Bart de Wever cannot be with us today, so I would like to ask Alderman Heyden to please convey my appreciation to the Mayor and his team for their contribution to this event.
This year marks my second year in Belgium and I feel very much at home with the warm and friendly relations between our two countries. Our royal families enjoy a long history of close relations. King Bhumibhol of Thailand was the classmate of the late King Baudouin. At the people-to-people level, more than 100,000 Belgian tourists visited Thailand last year and we see the same increasing trend this year. Such contact has helped promote the exchange of culture and understanding between our two countries.
Thing that has been happening in Thailand may make you wondering about the current situation in Thailand, as you may have read or heard news reports recently about the political situation there. In summary, Thailand is currently in a temporary transition period as it continues to work toward to bring Thailand back to full democracy. Thailand is not under the martial law anymore since the government has denounced the martial law on 1 April 2015. This shows that Thailand is more than ready to work closely with all partners with stability to bring back to normalcy. Thailand remains open for business as usual and daily life continues as normal. The political and economic situation has stabilized, and the Bank of Thailand forecasts that GDP growth could reach 3.8 per cent this year.
I have been touched by the goodwill and encouragement from our Belgian and foreign friends who know Thailand and the Thai people well, and I sincerely thank you all for your support and understanding.
Relations between Thailand and Belgium remain strong and today’s event captures our commitment and determination to continue the fruitful collaboration between our two countries and peoples.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After two years that the Amazing Thai Weekend has been away from Antwerp, today I are proud to welcome you back to enjoy delicious and spicy Thai food as you experience different aspects of Thailand. In this Groenplats, you can already smell the inviting aroma of authentic Thai food and sample various Thai food menus. As well as other kinds of activities that all of you can discover Thainess, like Thai handicrafts and Thai massage.
Throughout the day, you can also enjoy a variety of cultural performances including the popular “Muay Thai” or a boxing, from the Bulldogs Club here in Antwerp, and traditional dances. Moreover, the Tourism Authority of Thailand kindly brings a traditional dancing and music group from the Northeastern part of Thailand, Pongland group.
In a few minutes, you will enjoy the Fashion show from Thai Songkran pageants in traditional Thai dress, sponsored by Ms. Bantom Jaitang and Puen Thai Association. Not only Thai beautiful ladies on stage today, I am honoured that Miss Annelies Törös (อะนาลิส ตอโรส), Miss Belgique 2015, is here with us today. I know that she has not been to Thailand yet. I hope this event may inspire her to visit my country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today’s event would not be possible without the support from our Belgian and Thai friends. I would like to thank the City of Antwerp, Mr. Jocelyn Timmermans, Honorary Consul of Thailand in Antwerp, Tourism Authority of Thailand, both the headquarter and its office in Paris, Dr. Shih and CPF Europe, Khun Katrien from Thai Airways, Ms. Pascale Behiles, Mr. Karl Lauwers, Mr. Gererd Caestecker, and the Team Thailand Offices, namely, the Office of Agricultural Affairs, the Office of Customs Affairs, the Office of Science and Technology, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand for their cooperation.
Last but not least, the Royal Thai Embassy is very honoured and privileged to be a part of and contribute to the international community in Antwerp.
I warmly welcome you to “Amazing Thai Weekend” with Thai hospitality and friendly smiles. I would like to thank you all again for joining us today, especially those who are joining us for the first time and our dear friends who have never missed this event. The Amazing Thai Weekend 2015 in Antwerp is now officially opened.
Sawasdee and kob khun krub.