Boosting Thailand Tourism?

With tourism down dramatically many Thai companies are trying new advertising to combat the the ever growing slump they are seeing in their bottom line. It’s not enough that the world wide economic situation is keeping tourists away, Thailand can’t help itself when it comes to making even dedicated travelers think twice.

Thai politics have been a major concern since the coup in 2006 and the recent events regarding Cambodia have some  travelers on edge. The continued violence in the South of Thailand with the Muslim community and the recent attacks on freedom of speech have been keeping Thailand in the news for all the wrong reasons.

You would think the easiest way to go would be accentuating the beauty and diversity that is Thailand and calling out the cultural aspects of the country. Instead the advertising  that has been coming out just leaves potential travelers scratching their head.

Medical tourism has long been a strong suit for Thailand with procedures generally being one third of those in the West. A good dental bridge in America might cost you $4000 once all is said and done but in Thailand the same bridge would cost $600.00.

While the majority of tourists are aware of these deals the advertised deals usually draw the wrong attention. Local ads like the one below are a usual sight. I have to admit though,  the ad is compelling. Come to Thailand for a short stay and for under $10,000 you can go home a new man…don’t want to be a man anymore, go home a new woman.

Thailand plastic surgery ad

Thai Air is also rolling out new advertising but one might wonder what demographic they are targeting. The new ads, while very well done and quite beautiful, don’t really convey Thailand, do they? They have opted to leave out their planes or pictures of Thailand for beautiful pictures of Thai women in flowing colorful gowns.

I’ll give them this, it does make me think of orchids and beauty so it does draw me to Thailand but I’m an easy sell and usually ad campaigns aren’t there to preach to the chorus. These ads will be rolling out to America and Europe soon.

Thai Air new  Advertising campaign

It’s not easy for any country in the current economic climate but at the very least most countries know their strong points and aren’t struggling to find their identity or appeal.

Thailand should take a cue from The Australian tourism  campaign of the 80’s and 90’s. Find a well liked Thai comedian and have him throw a shrimp on the barbie while extolling the great diversity and beauty that Thailand has to offer. Well, they might need to change it to a grasshopper in the oil or a rat on the barbie but you get the idea.

I haven’t seen a Thailand tourism ad in America for a long time but they may want to start with the company that did the below ad back in 2007. Someone there understood marketing.

sig1 Boosting Thailand Tourism?

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Comment by MikeNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-11-09 23:08:58

Talen I firmly believe that if folk want to come here they will come whatever the political or economic situation. Some people may be wary if they remember the airport fiasco last year but I doubt it.

Personally if I lived in the UK and had no Thai connections then I would consider Thailand since it is still exceptional value for money.

Interestingly Thailand is advertised a lot here on True Visions which goes out to the region attracting local tourists from China, Malaysia Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia perhaps?
Mike´s last blog ..The Demons of Suvarnabhumi Airport My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-09 23:29:50

I agree to a point Mike. There are those that are already highly susceptible to Thailand and they are an easy sell. But there are a lot more out there thinking about Asia and it won’t take much to sway them to China or the Philippines or elsewhere.

It never fails to amuse me that the best tourism ads for Thailand are shown just in the region. While it has boosted Tourism from Korea, Russia, China and India you would think they would want the European and North American money too.

I can’t even remember the last time I saw an ad for Thailand on tv in America…it was years ago.

Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-11-10 09:18:46

Oddly enough, my recent house guest was unaware of the coup or any other political troubles in Thailand. And he is well-traveled (spends a lot of time on planes).

I don’t know how he missed the news on Thailand – I was more than a little bit surprised – but could it be many other tourists have been missing it too? And all they are expecting when reaching Thailand, is lovely ladies dressed in silk?

And monkeys… can’t forget those monkeys…
Catherine´s last blog ..Bangkok’s Fertility Shrine: Chao Mae Tuptim My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-10 19:28:06

If tourist numbers are anything to go by then they haven;t been missing it to the tune of a few billion dollars lost.

Comment by MartynNo Gravatar
2009-11-10 16:14:16

I think the cosmetic surgery and ‘other’ type operations will still do fairly good business because in a word they are so cheap. On the downside for that industry is that a lack of tourism means fewer potential future clients and the handbag sellers at the exit gate might lose a bit of revenue too.

The Thai Air advert to me is quite appealing if I’m looking at it the right way. The bottom left one looks to me like a woman in mid air with her billowing dress depicting the wings of a plane. Then again it would also be suitable for a high society ball.

As far as the UK goes then the little TV I do watch I have as yet not seen any Thai adverts promoting their country. A rerun of the 2007 ad would be a winner anywhere, that is one hell of a view from a window. Whatever happened to the Siam Sunray cocktail, I tried at a couple of hotels to get one but after a couple of blank looks I gave up. Still that idea was a disaster waiting to be drunk.
Martyn´s last blog ..Wang Pho Elephant Camp My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-10 19:29:48

I think the Siam Sunray dies on delivery just like I thought it would…how the hell could it ever replace the Mai Thai?

The Thai Air ad is beautiful but if they would actually do some more commercials like the one from 2007 they might actually raise some tourist numbers.

Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-11-10 19:35:36

I haven’t seen the Thai Air ad. But whenever I think of TA, my mind goes to traveling business class on Qatar at nearly the same price.

So thank you TA, for pushing me away from you, and into the arms of motorised bucket seats with six wines and three cheeses to choose from.
Catherine´s last blog ..Bangkok’s Fertility Shrine: Chao Mae Tuptim My ComLuv Profile

Comment by SiamRickNo Gravatar
2009-11-10 22:09:25

Everyone here in Canada remembers the coup. That’s old news but it’s the last impression of Thailand they have. When I tried to tell them that things are pretty normal, they appear to understand but that coup and locked down airport are the images that remain and override any new information. I doubt that the negative image is particular to Canada.

I hear from my Bangkok buddies that things are really, really quiet at the Londoner. I do think that former high fliers, typical Londoner customers, are not making much money, if any right now so they are not travelling. And people are still losing their jobs. So I believe the economic situation is the real culprit.

Still, that 2007 ad is perfect and if re-released, might make some impact on those ready to make a decision to travel. I think though that there’s a smaller group of potential visitors. So maybe TaT is right to focus on nearby markets.
SiamRick´s last blog ..Are you a traveller or a tourist? My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-11 01:35:07

I remember my friends and family thinking I was completely nuts as my plane took off for Thailand 2 weeks after the coup happened.

There was nothing stopping me I wanted to take pictures of the tanks lol.

Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-11-10 22:20:02

‘Everyone here in Canada remembers the coup’

Apparently not, as my house guest was Canadian ;-)
Catherine´s last blog ..Bangkok’s Fertility Shrine: Chao Mae Tuptim My ComLuv Profile

Comment by BangkokDanNo Gravatar
2009-11-11 01:07:53

Must say less tourists has advantages. Hua Hin, a place I spend a decent amount of time, is way overburdened already.

Long weekends are a pain, not to mention the peak high season.

Roads blocked, eateries overfilled, traffic chaos along Petchkasem …

Maybe, hopefully it’s gonna be better this year, but I also understand the pains of shop keepers and restaurateurs.

Not easy, just a side of the many sides of a Thai coin.
BangkokDan´s last blog ..Machiavelli Personality Test: Are We A Better Thai Politician? My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-11 01:32:38

Dan, there is definitely a good side to having less tourists and I have enjoyed those times more than most.

Comment by ChuckWowNo Gravatar
2009-11-14 06:49:02

Noticed in the ad that a sex change costs $1625.00.

What if they have to perform an Addadicktome – is that included ?

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-11-15 02:02:45

Chuck, I would imagine that is pretty cheap and I would bet they have a basketful to pick from but you would have to be satisfied with a Thai model.

Comment by ChuckWowNo Gravatar
2009-11-15 03:27:40

Isn’t that what they call “free size” in Thailand.

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