Bangkok, 1 October 2014 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is in talks with Paris-based Amaury Sport Organisation for the possibility of staging the world’s biggest cycling race, the Tour de France, in Thailand in 2015, the year when the entire Southeast Asian region will integrate under the ASEAN Economic Community framework.
Thailand’s high-level delegation led by TAT’s Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, Mrs. Vilaiwan Twichasri, held a preliminary talk with Mr. Jean-Etienne Amaury, Chairman of the Amaury Sport Organisation – the main agency organising the annual Tour de France – in Paris, France on 11 September, 2014, to seek ways of organising such prestigious sporting event in Thailand.
TAT Governor, Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said, “More talks are underway, but we expect Thailand to play the perfect host to this esteemed and prominent cycling race as early as in 2015.”
TAT’s Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, Mrs. Vilaiwan Twichasri (middle) and Mr. Jean-Etienne Amaury, Chairman of the Amaury Sport Organisation (4th, left)
The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race, primarily held in France. The race was first held in 1903 originally just to increase sales for France’s L’Auto magazine. Following the inaugural event’s tremendous success, the race turned into an annual event and has since become so famous that riders from all over the world make it a must-participate race of a lifetime.
TAT Governor said, “The Tour de France, being the world’s oldest, biggest and most famous international cycling race, is the ultimate hope and dream for all professional cyclists to participate in at least once in a lifetime. Thailand has also become a destination that international tourists must visit at least once in their lifetime. This makes a perfect combination for the Tour de France, the world’s famous bicycling race, to be held in Thailand, the world’s famous tourist destination.”
It is a known fact that for cyclists joining the Tour de France, winning or losing the race is not their ultimate goal. But for the team to complete the entire three-week race, covering more than 3,500 kilometres in distance, is the biggest challenge. The competition also requires the teamwork spirit to achieve the goal.
The initiative to organise the Tour de France as part of TAT’s plans to develop cycling tourism, which has been around for decades in Thailand. It is also to promote eco-friendly travel and green tourism since cycling is energy-saving and harmless to the environment, as well as promotes good health for the riders.
Mr. Thawatchai added, “By playing host to a world famous cycling race as the Tour de France, we are saying that Thailand is ready to host any international sporting events of all types and sizes. We are saying that Thailand is the place to enjoy sporting events, to enjoy unique natural and cultural experiences, and to share the memorable travel moments with the world.”