19 Aug, 2015
Bangkok – Adopting a strong lead-from-the-front policy position, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is to maintain all its global marketing and promotion campaigns as normal, the TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications Mr. Sugree Sithivanich has confirmed.
The decision to stay the course, one of the key elements of Thailand’s crisis-management plan, is designed to send a powerful message of confidence to the global travel & tourism industry, both within the kingdom and abroad, that the country’s top foreign exchange earning service industry does not intend to be cowed by a lone act of deranged violence.
It is also intended to send a strong signal to everyone to follow suit and stay the course in terms of their own plans to visit Thailand for holiday or business.
Mr. Sugree said, “If we cutback on our advertising and marketing campaigns, even temporarily, this would be exactly what those behind (the Bangkok bombing on August 17) want us to do. That is why we will not do it. If we cancel or postpone anything, it will set a bad example and make the situation worse. We don’t want that either.”
Maintaining visitor confidence is one of the key pillars of the Thai tourism industry’s crisis-recovery campaign discussed at a high-level crisis summit called by Minister of Tourism and Sports Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul on Aug 18.
The meeting was attended by heads of all the major tourism industry associations. The three-pronged management priorities announced by the Minister includes 1) 100% expression of condolences and sympathy for the families of the victims; 2) maximum assistance and care for the injured, as well as support for their families; 3) appeals to the global travel & tourism industry to stand with Thailand and not to defer/cancel travel plans.
The TAT’s decision will be in line with Priority 3 and also ensure that the kingdom has the global media on its side in its bid to facilitate a quick recovery.
It will be a critical component of what is turning out to be an exemplary crisis-management plan by the entire Thai government which is going overboard to ensure open communications without playing a speculative blame-game nor compromising the investigations.
As the hunt for bespectacled, yellow T-shirt bombing suspect continues today, Aug 19, the entire area around the Erawan shrine has been swept clean and reopened for normal use by traffic and pedestrians.
Thousands of tourists are in Bangkok presently and can be seen all around the city. Their tweets and social media posts have played a major role in spreading the word that the city is functioning normally.
On Aug 18, traffic was generally much lower than normal, as many schools remained closed as a precautionary measure. However, all offices, public facilities, shops and transport systems were operating normally.
Tourism Minister Mrs Kobkarn and senior officials of the Ministry as well as the TAT personally visited many of the injured parties in the various hospitals.
In recent statements, the Thai government has singled out tourism as being one of the most important economic success stories in an otherwise bleak operating environment, plagued by diminishing exports and low prices of farm products.
TAT officials are confident that this act of violence will have nothing more than a minimal short-term impact on visitor arrivals. “We have been through many such crises,” one senior official said. “As a country and industry, the fundamentals are strong enough to ensure that we ride this out.
“The worst thing that can happen is for it to have a long-term impact, especially on jobs and livelihoods of the many people who work in the industry. That is why cutting back on any of our marketing and advertising campaigns is not an option.”