Stung by Taylor Swift tour snub, Thailand seals deals for music festivals

After missing out on Taylor Swift’s world tour, Thailand has sealed deals to host Summer Sonic and Tomorrowland music festivals as it pushes event-driven tourism to propel Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Summer Sonic will come to Southeast Asia for the first time in its second venture outside of Japan, with dates set for Aug. 24 and 25 in Bangkok after shows in Tokyo and Osaka, according to Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke. Thailand will also be hosting dance music festival Tomorrowland in 2026, which may be only the first of 10 consecutive editions, Chai said in a statement on Saturday.

The push came after Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who took office in September, identified measures such as visa waivers for tourists as “quick wins” to stimulate Thailand’s economy, which he has repeatedly said is in a “crisis.” Thailand, which has seen an average growth short of 2% in the past decade in a region where a pace upwards of 4% is the norm, has pushed promotional campaigns to extend holidaymakers’ stay and year-round festivals to boost the number of foreign tourists.

Srettha previously bemoaned that Thailand had missed out on Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour, which made Singapore its only stop in Southeast Asia due to an exclusive arrangement with the neighboring country.

Tycoon-turned-politician Srettha has called Singapore’s move “smart” and said Thailand should seek to emulate such strategies to bring in tourists and boost its economy.

Thailand’s vital tourism industry accounts for 12% of the country’s gross domestic product. This year, the country aims to welcome 35 to 40 million foreign tourists, edging near a pre-pandemic record of 40 million visitors.

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