Staged on 1 July, the Shopping Challenge 2009 race — the first of its kind in Thailand — was a fun-filled and exciting event that gave participants a chance to win more than 100,000 baht1 (approximately US$ 3,000) worth of prizes.
Famous movie stars, singers, supermodels, writers and reporters from 11 countries and territories were invited to participate in the event.
The Shopping Challenge race was one of the promotional highlights in support of Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2009, a three-month shopping extravaganza lasting until 31 August in all key tourist destinations around Thailand. Participating department stores and retail outlets are offering special discounts of up to 80 per cent. These promotional activities further reinforce Thailand’s brand image as the perfect value-for-money destination.
With July through to September being the high season for Asian travel, participants in this year’s Shopping Challenge were selected from Asian countries. Moreover, all are short-haul source markets for Thailand.
“Events like this will not only highlight Thailand as a shopping paradise but also go a long way towards rebuilding Thailand’s image as a safe and secure destination, all the while offering excellent value for money,” said Mr. Santichai Euachongprasit, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing.
Participants representing the 11 countries were divided into 33 teams. Each vied for top honours as they went for the best bargains at nine designated shopping malls situated along Bangkok’s “Shopping Street.”. The race kicked off at 1.00 pm on 1 July, and teams of two or three each had three and a half hours to spend 30,000 baht (approximately US$ 900) at Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin Plaza, Erawan Bangkok, Central Chidlom, Siam Centre and Zen.
To be eligible for the grand prize of 100,000 baht (approximately US$ 3,000), the winning team had to complete the challenge with the most savings.
The race ended at 4.30 pm when all teams returned to the finish line at the Library room of the Novotel Hotel, Siam Square. An awards presentation ceremony was held the same evening.
The Malaysian team walked away with the grand prize. Working together, team members consisting of Ms Khoo Kok Suan, Juliana-publisher Gold Malaysia Magazine; Ms Maryanne Raymond, deejay and presenter at TRAXX FM Radio Station; and Mr Kee Hua Chee, a journalist with The Star Newspaper, scored 181 points.
All participating teams got to keep their purchases.
Upon their return home, participants are expected to generate publicity for Thailand’s total shopping experience — from the latest designer goods to traditional Thai arts and crafts. Bangkok’s unique retail attractions include Siam Paragon and CentralWorld. Both are rated world-class shopping and entertainment complexes, and are linked by direct walkway to the mass transit system, the famous Bangkok SkyTrain.
“Shopping in Thailand is always an excellent opportunity to stock up on some really amazing Thai products to take back home as gifts for friends and family,” said Mr. Santichai. “The best gift items are often unique locally-made products, including those from the royal projects, Thai silk, handicrafts, decorative and designer items and household products.”
In 2007, tourist spending on shopping was up more than a quarter at 142 billion baht (around US$ 4.1 billion). It declined slightly in 2008, but is expected to rise by about five per cent this year.
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