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Friday, July 18, 2008

How Long Can Thailand be "Amazing"?

Thailand has always been at the top of Southeast Asia's tourism game. The P.R. for the country as a tourist destination is head and shoulders above the rest. You've probably seen the pictures: silhouettes of sky-high temples, smiling local residents, quaint floating markets, comely service industry workers flashing their most photogenic wai. But is the image that Thailand has spent so long building for itself becoming cliché?


According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the whole Amazing Thailand campaign is just getting started. Industry insiders at TTGAsia report that TAT is going to ride its campaign into the ground:


"TAT is considered to be repeating the same old story. It is Amazing Thailand again. It is Seven Amazing Wonders product again. It is even Visit Thailand Year (tagline) again."


Will that type of campaign continue to fly? What if some of the negative press that the Land of Smiles has been getting lately continues: rumors of another coup, ongoing complaints about Suvarnabhumi Airport (like having to walk half-a-mile to reach the W.C.), and security threats from southern militants?


Add to that the fact that regional player Vietnam is upping the ante by constructing a new airport and new rail system for Ho Chi Minh City.


Most visitors to Thailand still buy the "amazing" thing. But, one wonders if TAT will have to come up with a new branding scheme sometime soon.

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