To show how seriously Thailand takes its tourist industry, you only have to look at the budget for the country’s new tourism campaign — 6.3 billion baht, or approximately US$203 million. Nothing to sneeze at, is it?
The new campaign, called “Miracle Year” will be run in an effort to get tourists back to Thailand. The country first began to lose them with anti-government protests in March, 2010, which culminated in more than 90 civilians being shot and killed by the Thai military.
Then, in late 2011, just as tourist numbers were almost back to normal levels, Thailand experienced the country’s worst floods in more than 70 years, with video of parts of Bangkok under four feet of water on TV channels all over the world. That stopped tourists dead in their tracks, and tens of thousands canceled their plans. Again.
Finally, two weeks ago, the American and Israeli embassies in Bangkok announced possible terrorist attacks by Hezbolah could occur within days of notices being put on embassy websites. Needless to say, nothing happened, but it was just one more shot in the head to the Thai tourist industry.
But, the Thai government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra is fighting back, with a massive tourism campaign and an even bigger budget. Few details have been released about “Miracle Year” yet, but it’s expected to be pretty lavish and, if Thailand can do anything, it’s a world leader at “lavish”.
Meanwhile, if you’re considering a trip to Thailand, take a look at last year’s campaign. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) produced a short online mini-video series, with a storyline about a Japanese woman who meets a Western man, while both are on holiday in Thailand.
The series, called “Hearing the Sunshine”, has seven 10-minute HD videos that showcase the beauty of Thailand to absolutely full effect and, at the same time, tell a cute story. You can watch the first in the series at the top of this page, or on the TAT’s website. It’s absolutely gorgeous and shows the Thailand I have experienced in 10 years of living here.
The “Miracle Year” will kick-off in March, and everyone here in Thailand is hoping it will be. A country this gorgeous, full of this many kind and incredible people, does not deserve the bad press it’s been getting.
Any tourist who comes here will have a holiday of a lifetime, and that I can just about guarantee.
I originally came to Thailand as a tourist and, six months later, sold everything I owned and moved here. That is the “Miracle” of Thailand. Experience it for yourself.