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Festivals to go ahead in mourning Thailand

Festivals to go ahead in mourning Thailand

WEDNESDAY, November 16, 2016

Bangkok - Thailand's tourism authorities confirmed Wednesday that the country's festivals and major tourist activities will go ahead as scheduled as the nation continues to mourn the loss of its beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last month.

"No cancellations have been made so far," said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, tourism and sports minister, in response to reporters' questions about Christmas, New Year and next February's Chinese New Year celebrations.

"It is a matter of making adjustments," Kobkarn added, pointing out that the country's annual festival of Loi Krathong still went ahead on Monday night despite the government's ban on fireworks and loud music.

Tens of thousands of Thais ventured out on Monday night to float lotus-shaped banana leaves on rivers and lakes under the supermoon in tribute to the goddess of water. However, the annual tradition was overshadowed by candle vigils held in honour of the late king.

In a press conference Wednesday, Kobkarn told reporters that income from international tourists visiting the country had increased by 10.8 per cent in November, despite some activities being toned down.

Kobkarn said the mood was becoming more cheerful "step by step," citing Thailand's World Cup qualifier against Australia on Tuesday night. The Thai national team managed a 2-2 draw with the "Socceroos."

The match went ahead at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium with many fans still dressed in black because of the king's death. Thai authorities had earlier urged Australian fans to dress and act respectfully to mourning Thais.