The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is now encouraging the private and the public sectors to hold activities at places in 70 routes where the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej had travelled to promote local tourism. The minister Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said all these places where the late King had travelled in the country could best serve as places of learning for all Thais and students in their outdoor studies. This would help boost domestic tourism and local economies, she said. The Tourism Authority of Thailand would be tasked with the job to draw up tourism. She said local tourism associations had expressed interest in promoting meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions in these routes in their regions, she said. They had asked the ministry for information about the 70 routes taken by the late King, she said. The Department of Tourism reported that between January and August this year domestic tourists made 91.3 million trips inside the country, up 4.68% on the same period last year, the Bangkok Post reported. And from January to Oct 22 this year there were 26.4 million foreign arrivals, an increase of 110.82% compared to the same period last year, who spent 1.31 trillion baht, an increase of 15.59%. She said major events would not be cancelled but adjusted to suit the situation. These include Air Race One Pre Event between November 19 20, Princess's Cup between November 25-27, Jet Ski King's Cup between December 3 4, and Phuket King's Cup Regatta between December 3 � 10 and Chiang Mai Marathon on December 18. For activities during festivals such as Loy Krathong and the New Year will be adjusted because the country is still in a sombre mood, she said. The ministry has set a target for 20 million Thais across the country to take part in New Year prayers, instead of fireworks, on the night of Dec 31-Jan 1, with Sanam Luang the site for the main event. She also said that as a tribute to the King, all museums and historic parks which are under the supervision of the Department of Fine Arts will be open free for all local and foreign tourists from today until January 31 next year. Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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