BANGKOK — The top tourism official on Friday admitted he misled the media with his claim that K-pop superstar “Lisa Blackpink” would be joining New Year’s Eve festivities in Thailand without waiting for her confirmation first.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, who has said multiple times that the musician has all but confirmed her multi-million baht appearance for the countdown festival on Phuket island, said there was a “miscommunication” with the public. Lisa’s label, YG Entertainment, said yesterday that she will not be coming to Phuket.
“This is a case of miscommunication from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand,” Phiphat said.
He added, “But I’ve also said a lot of those things, so I accept the fault is my own. I have to admit to it.”
Phiphat and other government officials previously said Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban, the Thailand-born singer from the Korean girl band Blackpink, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli have confirmed their bookings for which the ministry has set a budget of 100 million baht to hire them.
Upon learning the news about Lisa’s no-show yesterday, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said he was “sad and disappointed” because he was looking forward to the event, which could help promote Thai tourism.
“But I understand because it’s business,” Prayut told reporters at Government House. “Lisa is very popular right now, so a lot of [people] are booking her.”
With Lisa out of the show, it is now unclear whether Bocelli would still perform at the festivities as claimed by the government. Phiphat declined to discuss the matter at today’s news conference.
“I’d like to refrain from saying now what is certain, because of the recent mistake,” the tourism minister said. “We have learned a lesson that what issue is not finalized yet, I should not be talking about it. I admit that I have [prematurely] given interviews about this.”
Phiphat continued, “From now on, we’ll be more careful in what we do.”