A civic group is rallying against a Guinness World Record lantern release attempt planed for Huay Tung Tao Resvior in Don Kaeo, Mae Rim this coming Yi Peng in November.
The event, announced last week, is hoping to attract Chinese tourists to the site during Yi Peng to release 20,000 lanterns in a mass release and has strong backing by the Tourism Industry Council of Chiang Mai, the Office of Tourism Promotion, the Royal Thai Army that owns the land and various others.
A report by Sanook claims there is “widespread criticism” of the event, citing Mrs. Saowakon Sriboonruang, the coordinator of the Chiang Mai Urban Community Network as its single and only source of the claim.
The network believes that holding a world record attempt at the site is extremely inappropriate, that lanterns are not a Lanna tradition and that the lanterns are dangerous as they can cause property damage due to fire.
Further, Mrs. Sriboonruang also claims that the event has been organized by a “foreign capital group” that is only interested in selling access to foreign tourists and not locals. Whether true or not, using xenophobia is a popular fallback in the north when you’re attempting to protest something you don’t like.
While some locals may well not like the lantern aspect of Yi Peng, very few of them would be in jobs that were in or related to the tourism industry particularly given its current lackluster state.