Thai tourism minister admits to blunder over pop idol’s appearance at New Year event

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn admitted today (Friday) that he had jumped the gun with his recent announcement that K-Pop rap idol Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban of South Korea’s group Blackpink would be performing at the New Year countdown event in Phuket.

He said that he should not have told the Thai media about the superstar’s possible appearance in Thailand while a deal was yet to be concluded.

Lisa’s management agency, South Korea’s YG Entertainment, issued a statement saying the popular singer will not be available for the countdown event and hopes this will not cause confusion in Thailand.

Phiphat said he had learned a lesson from his premature revelation to the media and, when asked whether Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli will still be attending the New Year countdown at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang, the minister declined to answer.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports was planning to seek cabinet approval in mid-November to spend 100 million baht on the planned appearances of the two famous artists in Phuket and Bangkok.

This is not the first time Phiphat jumped the gun with premature and unconfirmed announcements. In mid-September, he announced at a press briefing that the reopening of Bangkok would be postponed from October 1st, to October 15th, and that four other provinces – Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan were scheduled to reopen on October 1st. None of which happened, with the Bangkok governor denying such a claim soon after.

Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that Lisa’s lack of availability will not negatively impact Thailand’s confidence in reopening the country to foreign arrivals, scheduled for Monday.


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