Thailand is in talks about staging part of next year’s Tour de France.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) revealed today that it is holding discussions with the famous cycle race’s organiser, Amaury Sport Organisation, about the possibility of moving the Tour de France to Thailand in 2015.
A Thai delegation, led by TAT deputy governor for tourism products & business, Vilaiwan Twichasri, met Amaury Sport’s chairman, Jean-Etienne Amaury, in Paris on 11 September 2014 to discuss the logistics of such a move. And according to TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik, these talks have developed into firm proposals and Thailand now appears confident about hosting part of next year’s Tour de France.
“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,” said Thawatchai.
The first Tour de France was held in 1903 and the event has never been to Asia in its 111-year history. Starting the Tour de France overseas is not unusual however, with Amsterdam hosting the first international start back in 1954. Since then, opening stages have been held in several European countries, including the UK in 2014. The Dutch city of Utrecht has already been selected as the starting place for next year’s race.
Exactly what stages of the race Thailand is planning to host remains unclear, and Travel Daily’s telephone inquiries with the TAT went unanswered. But the TAT governor appears upbeat.
“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,” said Thawatchai.
The initiative to bring the Tour de France to Thailand is part of TAT’s plans to develop cycling tourism in the country.