Srettha Learns Why Taylor Swift Skips Thailand From World Tour

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has vowed to bring superstar concerts to Thailand upon discovering why international stars like Taylor Swift have previously excluded Thailand from their world tour destinations.

Srettha Thavisin, who also serves as the finance minister, took the opportunity at the iBusiness Forum 2024 to reveal his conversation with the international concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which intensified his ambition to make Thailand a leading destination for entertainment in Southeast Asia.

The former property tycoon turned prime minister expressed his curiosity about the absence of a Taylor Swift concert in Thailand and credited AEG for clarifying the situation.

Mr. Srettha learned from AEG that the Singaporean government had financially backed Taylor Swift’s shows, providing between two to three million dollars per concert in exchange for exclusivity in Southeast Asia.

He expressed regret in his keynote address at the forum, hosted at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, stating, “If I had known this, I would have brought the shows to Thailand. Concerts can generate added value for the economy.”

The prime minister emphasized the economic upside of investing in concerts featuring superstars, pointing out their potential to attract international visitors and boost spending across various sectors, from hotels to tourism activities and barbecue pork roadside stalls.

At the forum, he shared that he had extended an invitation to AEG executives for discussions at the Government House on Monday (Feb 12).

He expressed the government’s commitment to offering tax incentives and various appealing initiatives aimed at bringing major concerts and top-tier festivals to Thailand during those talks.

The theme of the iBusiness Forum 2024 is “Reshaping Thailand for a Sustainable Future.”

Taylor Swift is scheduled to perform six times at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium in Singapore from March 2 to 9, with a break on March 5 and 6, making Singapore her only Southeast Asian stop. This has prompted many Thai fans to travel to Singapore for her shows.

In 2014, Taylor Swift was scheduled to perform as part of her Red Tour at the Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani on June 9, but the fully booked concert in Thailand was eventually called off.

No specific explanations were provided for the cancellation, though there were rumors it was due to security issues. This decision was announced following the coup on May 22, 2014, led by then-army leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who subsequently became the prime minister.

“I’m sending my love to the fans in Thailand. I’m so sad about the concert being canceled,” Taylor tweeted at the time.

In July of the previous year, Pita Limjaroenrat from the Move Forward Party invited Taylor Swift, named Time’s Person of the Year, to consider adding Thailand to her Eras Tour, especially after her 2014 performance was canceled in the wake of the military coup.