As Thailand's tourism industry bounces back after suffering a heavy hit in early 2014, Hotels.com launches an on line campaign to help put a smile back on the country's usually happy face.
Michael Taylor (3rd from left) and friends in the lobby of the Ozo Chaweng Samui in Koh Samui, Thailand, performing the 'wai'. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
Thailand's toursim industry experienced strong growth in the 4th quarter of 2014 following a steep drop in arrivals earlier in the year as political instability caused many would-be travellers to give the Land of Smiles a wide berth.
According to data released at the Thailand Tourism Forum 2015 organized by STR Global, year-over-year (YoY) occupancy fell by 11.3%, mostly driven by Bangkok, which saw a decline YoY of 16.2%.
"This is against a backdrop of almost half the year at -20% and worst months where it was over 30% down," a press release issued by STR Global says.
"However, recovery started to emerge late Q3, and in Q4 numbers really turned around for Bangkok. After the dismal start to the year, RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased by +2.5% YoY in the last quarter."
Wai Facebook Campaign
It is within this context that Hotels.com has rolled out an online campaign that it hopes will encourage travellers to give the Land of Smiles a second look.
Named after the "wai", the traditional Thai gesture of "welcome, the “Wai Thailand” campaign invites Thais and potential foreign visitors to the country to post selfies of themselves making the "wai" gesture on Facebook.
“The ‘wai’ gesture, which involves the pressing of palms together in a prayer-like fashion, is the traditional way Thais greet people, express gratitude, and demonstrate respect," says Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director of the Hotels.com brand.
"Encouraging people everywhere, from all walks of life to share their own ‘wai’ photos’ is a fantastic way to showcase Thailand’s unique character and welcome travellers back to the country."
The “Wai Thailand” Facebook campaign was launched in late January 2015 in Thailand as well as in Australia, India, Singapore, and the United States.
All I can say is, "Wai not?"
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