Tourism Authority of Thailand promotes 60 spiritual sites amid rise in faith-based tourism

By TIN Media | Asean News Published 8 months ago on 27 September 2023
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Ever-greater numbers of travellers are seeking unique experiences that will provide them with a sense of spiritual fulfilment. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is responding to this phenomenon by promoting 60 fascinating sites related to faith and culture in Thailand.

Faith-based tourism is gaining traction in the global market. Based on data from Future Market Insight in 2023, it’s predicted to experience a three-fold increase in global economic value in the next ten years. In Thailand, the “Sai Mu Economy”, created by domestic tourists and inbound Asian visitors travelling to worship at sacred sites around the country, is already booming. Aware of the importance of these trends, TAT is supporting new forms of communication tools to enhance Thailand’s soft power and to open up new market segments to attract foreign tourists.

Connecting to Spiritual Thailand: A Guide to 60 Powerspots is a beautifully illustrated, 100-page publication written in English by a team of veteran travel writers and researchers to foster understanding of everyday Thai religion among foreigners. Beyond its world-famous historic temples, Thailand is home to a panoply of lesser-known but dynamic spiritual sites. Ranging from city pillars and dragon shrines to sacred caves and spectacular trees, they are famous among Thais for their life-enhancing powers and thronged by worshippers every day. The e-book illuminates and interprets 60 such sites across the kingdom, in the hope of inspiring visitors to discover these new experiences.

The 60 spiritual powerspots range from a Bangkok shrine to a powerful ghost, Mae Nak Phrakhanong, to Kham Chanot in northeastern Udon Thani, the island home of naga serpents; from a mass pilgrimage to a mountain-top Buddha Footprint at Khao Khitchakut, Chanthaburi, to the cosmological city pillar of Chiang Rai; and from a shrine to a pop megastar who died too young, Pumpuang Duangjan, in Suphanburi, to Wat Khao Or, a school of black magic founded by Brahmans in southern Phatthalung. By selecting sites from all corners of the kingdom, the team hoped to support tourism in less-visited areas.

“The chosen entries are both hugely popular and culturally interesting,” says one of the e-book’s editors and writers, Nicholas Grossman. “They reflect the multiculturalism and syncretism of Thai spirituality. The guide covers the sites’ histories and the background on why they are sacred. The special offerings and acts of worship at each site are explained, as well as the particular requests that people pray for. In this way, we aim to demystify Thai popular religion and make it accessible to foreign visitors.”


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