BANGKOK, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's tourism body is holding the Great Mekong Bike Ride event in northeastern Thailand to make the country's forgotten backyard sports tourism destinations.
Organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the long-distance road race cycling event is scheduled from June 28 to 30 in Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon provinces.
According the the TAT, the event has been held for three years consecutively. The three provinces are ready to welcome more than 2,000 Thai and foreign cyclists from 22 countries.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the event is expected to generate about 20 million baht (about 625 thousand U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue for the local economy.
"The staged race format has been carefully designed to promote tourism and sport in the emerging destinations in line with the government's policy and TAT's marketing strategy. It showcases the rich history, culture and natural attractions that these northeastern provinces can offer memorable experiences for local and international cyclists," said Yuthasak.
Northeastern Thailand consists 20 provinces by the Mekong River. The region is home to one-third of Thailand's population of 67 million, but contributes only 10 percent to the national GDP.
Official statistic shows that the entire northeastern Thailand gained only 2.9 percent of the country's tourism income in 2017.
The culture in the region is predominantly Lao. The region is also home to some of Thailand's best historic sites, national parks and festivals.