EMBASSY’S ACTIVITIES / ARTICLES
September 12, 2017
Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi at the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Destination Thailand Festival
Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada
at the Opening Ceremony of the 4th Destination Thailand Festival
Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto
Saturday, 9 September 2017
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam,
Councillor Godwin Chan,
Dr. Ken Ng, Chairman of the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon, and welcome to the 4th Destination Thailand festival.
It has been four consecutive years that the Royal Thai Embassy has had the opportunity to showcase the best of Thai culture, right here in the heart of downtown Toronto. I could not be more delighted to welcome all of you to this annual cultural event which serves as a bridge connecting Thais and Canadians together despite the vast geographical distance separating us.
I hope that this festival will give you a glimpse of what Thailand has to offer, and that you will be inspired to visit our country--to immerse yourself in our cultural heritage and to enjoy the many amazing things which are commonly found on people’s bucket lists. This past July, Transport Canada announced an expanded Canada-Thailand Air Transport Agreement, which helps provide more travel options for Canadians to fly to many regions in Thailand.
Imagine yourself sunbathing on a white sandy beach in a southern Thai province, especially in the heart of your winter, or watching a night of exciting Muay Thai fighting at Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok, or interacting with the majestic elephants in the northern region of Thailand, and getting to know the friendly Thai people, who welcome you with smiling faces and open hearts everywhere you go. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s statistics, the friendliness of Thai people is the main reason why tourists love to visit, and keep returning to, Thailand.
Today, you can also see many smiling faces throughout the festival, from all the participating vendors, performers, volunteers, and our talented emcee and popular TV host in Thailand, Mr. Daniel Fraser, who has been spreading happiness everywhere he goes ever since the 1st Destination Thailand. He is a Calgary native who has made Thailand his second home. Known as the ‘City of Angels’, Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok was crowned the world’s most popular travel destination in 2016, according to an annual ranking by Mastercard. Among the 32 million visitors to Thailand each year, almost 300,000 are Canadians. Perhaps you too could follow Daniel Fraser’s footsteps to visit Thailand and find your home away from home in our “Land of Smiles”.
If you have been to Thailand, you have probably witnessed the powerful spiritual force that unites the Thai people as one. The Thai Monarchy is the main pillar which unifies the Thai society at large. The institution has contributed greatly to the development and well-being of the Thai people. With these strong bonds and profound gratitude toward the Monarchy, Thai people all over the world mourned the tragic loss of our late beloved King, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away peacefully last year on the 13th of October in the 70th year of His long and remarkable reign.
We still recall how, in 1967, His Majesty the late King and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Kingdom of Thailand, paid an official visit to Canada to celebrate this country’s centennial anniversary, which has become a significant part of the history of the cordial relations between Thailand and Canada. Since that time, Thailand had made great strides to become one of the world’s major food exporting countries, a newly industrializing nation, and one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
I would like to invite you all to visit the Embassy’s booth to read about His Majesty’s renowned philosophy of “Sufficiency Economy”, which has transformed innumerous lives and become an international model for sustainable development.
His Majesty the late King’s guiding light has lived on through the perseverance of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the 10th and current monarch of the present Chakri Dynasty. For the prosperity of the Thai people, His Majesty King Rama X has carried on in his father’s footsteps by dedicating himself to a multitude of Royal Projects in various fields. To pay homage to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa will perform a Thai classical dance in His honour during the opening ceremony.
There will be many other exciting live performances and activities on stage throughout the day. You can simply relax and enjoy our shows, or walk around to taste the robust flavors of Thailand brought to you by local Thai restaurants, guaranteed with a “Thai Select” certification from the Royal Thai Government, or sample Thai fruits and products from various vendors. If you get tired of walking, there is no better way to ease your aching muscles than to experience the ultimate in relaxation from a traditional Thai massage available right here at Yonge-Dundas Square. No matter what you choose to do here, we are delighted to have you with us all day long.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Just as Rome was not built in one day, an event such as this was not organized in 24 hours. Without the collaborative efforts from many sectors, we would not be able to bring Destination Thailand to Yonge-Dundas Square year after year. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to everyone involved, starting with the City of Toronto, particularly the office of Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam, for its ongoing support ever since our first festival back in 2013.
I would also like to thank all the representative offices of the Thai Government, known collectively as Team Thailand, the Thai Society of Ontario, the Thai community in Toronto, Toronto Police Service, as well as all the magnificent performers, enthusiastic vendors, the Embassy’s diligent officers, staff, and hard-working volunteers. You all are the key elements which have made our festival so dynamic and vibrant. With your contributions, we are able to promote Thai culture in the multicultural landscape of Canada as we join this country in celebrating its 150th anniversary of Confederation. I truly believe that Canada will keep on blossoming in the world’s stage through its core values, which lie in diversity, inclusion, and generosity. These are precisely the same values which are cherished and shared by all Thais.
I wish you all a wonderful day at our festival. As the cool, and gradually colder, weather is approaching, if you are looking for a warm and cozy place to be during the Canadian winter, why don’t you consider making Thailand your next destination? I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you very much.