SAPPORO – Thailand has again won the grand prize at the annual International Snow Sculpture contest in Sapporo, Japan, this time with a magnificent pair of Thai fighting cocks.
The annual Sapporo Snow Festival and the 69th International Snow Sculpture competition finished on Thursday, ending with the announcement of the grand prize, which went to Thailand, and the top four winning teams – Macau, the United States, Finland and Daejeon Metropolitan City (South Korea).
Other teams participating in this year’s competition were from Australia, Hawaii, Indonesia, Poland, USA, China and Singapore.
Kitsana Kaewtumrong, PR director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the Thailand team comprised three professional ice sculptors – Kusol Boonkobsongserm from Shangri-La hotel, Amnuay Srisook from Grand Hyatt Erawan, and Krisana Wongthes, a freelancer.
“This year, they created models of ‘Kai Chon’ or fighting cocks, which beat all other competitors. The achievement will boost the reputation and presence of Thailand and of Thai tourism throughout the globe,” Mr Kitsana said.
TAT will continue to promote Thailand in Japan with new focuses this year on destinations and activities in secondary provinces, in order to maintain the number of arrivals from Japan.
Mr Kitsana said more than 2 million tourists from around the world visited the snow festival. TAT hoped this event would help Japanese people and tourists from other countries become more aware of Thailand.
TAT has sponsored the Thailand team at the snow festival for 21 years. The Thai team has previously won four grand prizes, in 2000, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The Sapporo Snow Festival was started in 1950, when high school students built a few snow statues in Odori Park. It has since developed into a large event featuring spectacular snow and ice sculptures.
The main site is the Odori Site in Sapporo’s centrally located 1.5 kilometre-long Odori Park. The Festival’s famous large snow sculptures, some measuring more than 25 metres wide and 15 metres high, are exhibited there. They are lit up daily until 22:00 Hrs.
Besides about a dozen large snow sculptures, the Odori Site exhibits more than 100 smaller snow statues and hosts several concerts and events, many of which use the sculptures as their stage.
One highlight of the Sapporo Snow Festival is the International Snow Sculpture Contest, first held in 1974.