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Festivals to go ahead in mourning Thailand

dpadpa 16/11/2016 By Caroline Berdon

Thailand's Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year festivals are expected to go ahead as normal, say authorities, as the nation continues to mourn.

Thailand's tourism authorities say 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 died 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 on 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.

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