The CEO of a Bangkok-based branding agency has told Thailand’s travel industry leaders that its tourism campaign needs to change and is being 'eclipsed' by other destination brands.
Speaking at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Thailand Chapter’s AGM, David Keen, CEO of Keen, said the 'Amazing Thailand' marketing campaign – which was launched in 1997 – doesn’t reflect the destination and its future.
Keen told the PATA Thailand Chapter, a voluntary not-for-profit membership organisation that supports the responsible development of tourism in Thailand: “Amazing Thailand has been eclipsed and is now out of date compared to other destination brands that are changing all the time.”
He continued: “When the quality of a brand drops, the quality of the tourists that visit your country also drops. It is Thailand's responsibility to uphold and keep up its brand. Otherwise it will find itself in a downward spiral."
Following political unrest in Thailand in early 2010, another campaign targeting the meetings, incentives and conferences market, ‘Believe in Thailand’ was launched to restore confidence in planners. The country is aiming for a 15 to 20 percent increase in visitors for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions this year.
In a bid to attract the MICE market, Thailand is ramping up activity with additional marketing representatives in the UK and Germany, organising corporate familiarisation trips to highlight the luxury MICE niche and CSR and green initiatives; and the organisation of MICE seminars to raise awareness of Thailand in Europe, including Russia.
PATA Thailand Chapter Chairman, Bert van Walbeek, said: "Inspirational branding is of paramount importance for a country's success in tourism and business. Thailand needs to be at the forefront of people's minds in a positive way. We can't rest on past triumphs."
In 2010 Europe contributed 84,940 MICE visitors, worth €154m (£129m), with the UK contributing 9,500 MICE visitors, worth €16.8m (£14m).