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 May 02, 2003
Thailand Launches Grand Campaign To Restore Travel Confidence

 The Tourism Authority of Thailand is spearheading a special three-month promotional campaign of special offers designed to attract an estimated 50,000 new visitors in the summer low-season period. The "Thailand Smiles Plus Campaign" has involved the collective efforts of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) in cooperation with wholesalers, shops, restaurants, transportation operators, hospitals, golf courses and spas. Valid from May 1 to July 31, 2003, the campaign is intended to stimulate both domestic and international travel during the low season and compensate for the loss of arrivals and revenue as a result of the war in Iraq and the SARS crisis.

TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan said, "We are encouraged to see that efforts being made by the World Health Organization, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the International Air Transport
Association and other international industry associations to dispel many of the myths and wrong perceptions about the SARS issue are bearing fruit.

"People are beginning to understand that the disease does not spread in ways that have been commonly believed. As confidence in travel returns, we hope this campaign will make visitors take that long-planned holiday in Thailand."

The campaign is being targetted at consumers in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Russia CIS and Baltic States, East Europe (Poland, Czech, Hungary), Scandinavia, UAE and Indonesia.

Mrs. Juthamas added, "In each of these countries, we have segmented the markets according to leisure, family, youth, golf, overland travel (Malaysia), independent travellers and expatriates because these are the groups with strong potential for generating arrivals. We hope the campaign will generate at least 50,000 international visitors."

The campaign is being marketed by TAT overseas offices in cooperation with tour wholesalers abroad, THAI Airways International, the THA and all the participating hotels, companies and operators. Customers can buy the packages directly through a special web site, http://www.thailandsmilesplus.com

Under the campaign, hotel packages are being offered as "Buy One, Get One Free" in which customers can stay two nights for the price of one or four nights for the price of two. Ninety-two hotels have joined up, divided into four categories: $140 for category A (8 hotels), US$ 100 for category B (17 hotels), US$ 70 for category C (44 hotels), and US$ 40 for category D (23 hotels). In most cases, the room rates apply for single and double occupancy (up to a maximum of two adults per room) per night. They include service charge, VAT, and daily American breakfast.

To add more value to the package, another 36 tourism-related businesses are participating in the "Big Smiles Card" which is a 20-50% discount card featuring 14 restaurants, 10 golf courses, 3 transportation operators including the Skytrain in Bangkok, 3 shops, 3 spas and 3 hospitals where visitors can get a medical check-up.

The card will only be available to consumers who buy the Buy One, Get One Free packages. The discount offers will be valid until July 31, 2003 and cannot be used in conjunction with other promotional offers.

Travellers who buy the packages from travel agents abroad will receive the Big Smiles Card directly from them as the TAT offices abroad have distributed the cards to foreign tour wholesalers who have joined the campaign, for onward distribution to retail travel agents.

Those who buy the package through the Internet can get the card at the TAT counter at Bangkok International Airport arrival hall or upon check-in at the hotels that have joined the campaign.

Visitors who buy the packages will also be eligible for another "Plus" - participation in a lucky draw featuring 30 prizes of free roundtrip economy class air-tickets from Bangkok to Phuket, Krabi, Chiang
Mai, Chiang Rai and Samui Island and 15 prizes of free roundtrip economy class air-tickets to Thailand from any destination on the THAI Airways route.

Prizes will be drawn at the end of July, and winners will be announced on the web site and notified by e-mail on August 15, 2003.

The voucher will be sent to the winner's mailing address, as specified in the booking form. Tickets can be issued at any Thai Airways office worldwide and must be utilised between September 1, 2003 to August 31, 2004.