Contestants from Croatia, Taiwan and Australia each have won free week-long holidays in Thailand after participating in an online competition designed to promote the kingdom as a “Creative Tourism” destination. The campaign, bearing the theme “Discover the Other You”, was organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in a global effort to boost its Internet and social-media profile, especially among young people, and attract more repeat visitors in the off-peak season months.
Although it was a worldwide campaign, key target markets were Singapore, Japan, Australia, UK, Germany, Scandinavia, the U.S. and Canada.
The campaign generated 24,008,170 views from 119 countries across all the various online media within two months. The Creative Tourism activities video was viewed by over 1.5 million visitors, and the Digital Brochure downloaded by over 3,700 people.
The three winners of the “Free 7 Days/6 Nights Trip in Thailand” won round trip air-tickets, accommodation for six nights, meals, and a tour package with a personal guide. The package prize is valued US$8,000, plus a cash prize of US$2,000, for a total value of US$10,000. Each winner is entitled to bring along one person.
Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “Creative Tourism is an increasingly popular trend that gives visitors a chance to really experience host destinations up close. In an era when people seek out unforgettable special experiences, the ability to learn-by-doing about Thai art, culture and traditional practises is truly unique.”
He said the TAT launched the “Discover the Other You” campaign in order to brand Thailand as “the first Creative Tourism destination in Asia”.
The Governor added: “The concept of tourism marketing in the Marketing 3.0 era must have three-dimensional elements, which are to be useful to society, save the environment and achieve sustainable profit for all relevant sectors irrespective of tourists, tour agencies and entrepreneurs.
“Creative Tourism fits the Marketing 3.0 concept very well and Thailand has various distinguished art and cultural heritages and unique places that are ready to add value to tourism resources in the form of Creative Tourism.
“If entrepreneurs want to capture Creative Tourist market groups, they will have to create added value for their products by presenting an ‘Experience’ to the tourists that make their products unique and different. This becomes a sustainable selling point because the experience cannot be easily imitated,” Mr Suraphon said.
The campaign was heavily promoted across social media, both in English and Japanese. The content was designed to narrate stories of Thai lifestyle and Thainess experiences in order to inspire viewers “to discover the other you” and “have new perspective on life”.
Viewers were invited to participate in the online game by first watching a video series on specific creative tourism themes – Adventure, Culture, and Local Wisdom & Spirituality.
They could then join the game and answer specific questions on the theme that most inspired them.
The response also generated some valuable market-research data. For example:
-The top five countries that joined the online activities were Australia, England, USA, India and Singapore.
- The top three Creative Tourism activities that potential tourists want to experience are Thai massage, Thai cooking and Thai boxing.
- Expatriate groups, or foreigners who work in Asia, are most interested in bringing their families to learn about rice farming in Thailand because they want their kids to experience nature and local culture.
- The top three countries that saw large participation by young people were USA, England and Australia.
- Young people believe that acquiring new skills and experiences via travel can be listed on their resumes and thus help them get better jobs.
The campaign also won the support of Thai Airways International PLC. Mr Pandit Chanapai, Executive Vice President of Commercial Department, said the airline is promoting the Creative Tourism program to Royal Orchid Plus card members as part of a special offer that is valid until October 2012.
“Our direct marketing promotion targeted at our card holders will certainly encourage potential visitors to plan a Creative Tourism journey to Thailand,” Mr Pandit said.