Thailand loves tourists. With some 40 million international visitors a year coming through its portals, the roaring tourism economy accounts for a fifth of its GDP. And while over-tourism has been a concern in some popular spots, a reduction in visitors from China, as well as a strong Thai baht are slowing down the regional arrival numbers.
From the U.S., tourism to Thailand remains strong as ever accounting for new records of more than a million arrivals a year. Among the reasons: beautiful beaches, friendly local culture, and very affordable food, lodging and transport conspire to make Thailand one of the most desired vacation destinations in the world.
To that end, while deft management is managing to control overtourism concerns, the Thailand Tourism Authority is doing its job of marketing the attraction of Thailand as a vacation destination to the world. Their latest effort, The Local Traveler in Thailand, can be seen on Amazon Prime, a compelling result from a creative call out to find someone to take on the most “desirable job in the world.”
Last year DreamJobbing teamed up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to find one lucky person to go on an all-expenses-paid journey around the Southeast Asian country to live like a local and document what would be the “ultimate local traveler’s experience.” The job would take two to three weeks and would come with complimentary airfare to and from Thailand, all in-country expenses and a per diem, and additional compensation. The “job” will be to tell the story of Thailand while discovering local Thai experiences.
The lucky traveler: one Libby Vincek who was not a stranger to cameras. She had already appeared as a Survivor contestant on Survivor: Ghost Islandthat was filmed in Fiji. The cute, blonde, former model and beauty pageant queen from Texas took to the Thai job like mango slices to sticky rice. The film, which lasts an hour and 18 minutes, shows the carefree Millennial as she arrives in Bangkok with little more than a backpack and a cryptic “Mission Impossible” directive received on her smartphone to find a contact in a certain café at a certain time on a certain day where she would get further orders.
Libby goes from place to place in Thailand in just this way: receiving orders from home base in Hollywood in a quasi-reality TV moment and then making her way on her own from place to place, however she manages to get there, notwithstanding the crew of shooters, make-up and wardrobe staff and handlers. On the way, Thailand is showcased in ways most visitors will not see. Libby walks up deserted mountain roads, wades into rice fields, dines with families who are expecting her in scenic rural steads and giving her love and well wishes as can only happen in the Land of Smiles before sending her on her way.
She rides in truck beds and tuk tuks and on the back of scooters, not always knowing where she is going, and trying to make herself understood until she gets to her destination. She dances with Thai women in their pageantry, brings alms to Buddhist monks in remote monasteries, works with hill tribes in sorting coffee fruits, helps to save crab and seahorse populations in the Gulf of Thailand and makes friends whom she says she will remember forever.
The result is a fun call to action to get out and see the Thailand beyond James Bond Island and the Thailand that is nowhere near The Beachof Leo DiCaprio fame. This Thailand is the local Thailand, available to budget travelers, backpackers and those curious enough to go deep and engage with where they are.
At the national TTM 2019 tourism conference held in Pattaya in June, multiple emerging destinations were in promotion as alternatives to such beach destinations as Phuket, which receives the bulk of international vacationers. Pai in Mae Hong Son province, Chonburi province, Nan, Pathalong province, Chiang Rai, Ko Kood, Trang province, and Ko Rang in Trat province were shown for their attractions and smart reasons to visit. Steve Johnson, the Marketing Manager of TAT in New York noted that getting off the path and visiting these emerging spots is like time traveling into the “Thailand of 30 or 40 years ago.”
Runjuan Tongrut, TAT Director of the Americas noted that first timers may want to see Bangkok, the palace, the beaches of Phuket and island of Koh Samui but for repeater visits, Thailand’s emerging destinations are key.
Thai The Knot, a downloadable app, is a tool that allows travel agents to become Thailand experts and better understand these lesser-known gems in Thailand.
One of those gems is Hua Hin, a beach region less than three hours’ drive from Bangkok where an “Amazing Hua Hin 2019” promotion is on for the month of September. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has recruited 33 hotels in Hua Hin to join the promotion, which is lopping off as much as 50% from room rates during September.
The discounts are available for bookings by phone or email made in advance with the participating hotels. The promotion code AMAZING HUA HIN must be used when making a booking.
The following is a list of hotels participating in the campaign:
- Ace of Hua Hin Resort Tel.032 421 777
- Amari Hua Hin Tel.032 616 600
- Anantara Hua Hin Resort Tel.032 520 250
- Avani+ Hua Hin Resort Tel.032 898 989
- Baan Talay Dao Tel.02 751 6854, 081 821 5438
- Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villa Hua Hin Tel.032 512 021-38
- Devasom Hua Hin Resort Tel.032 442 789
- Dusit Thani Hua Hin Tel.032 520 009
- Escape Hotel Tel.032 653 456-61
- Evason Hua Hin Tel.032 632 111
- G Hua Hin Resort and Mall Tel.032 515 199
- Golden Beach Hotel at Cha Am Hua Hin Tel.032 472 850-6
- Hilton Hua Hin Tel.032 538 999
- Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin Tel.032 809 999
- Hua Hin Golf Villa Boutique Hotel Tel.032 531 392-7, 081 357 0212 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Tel.032 904 605
- Hua Hin White Villa Hotel Tel.032 523 971, 032 511 044, 081 198 7550
- Hyatt Regency Hua Hin Tel.032 521 234
- InterContinental Hua Hin Resort Tel.032 616 999
- Kanta Resort Hua Hin Tel.093 559 2282, 086 811 3984
- Koh Talu Island Resort Tel.089 810 3092, 086 087 7675
- Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort Tel.032 536 888
- Loligo Resort Hua Hin Tel.032 536 777
- Marrakesh Hua Hin Resort and Spa Tel.032 616 777
- Movenpick Asara Resort & Spa Hua Hin Tel.032 520 777
- Novotel Hua Hin Cha-Am Beach Resort and Spa Tel.032 708 300
- Puktien Cabana Beach Resort & Residence Tel.086 327 0815, 032 443 144
- Punsook Food and Farm Tel.095 394 2322, 032 470 412
- Riche Hua Hin Hotel Tel.032 520 888, 032 520 889
- Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas Tel.032 909 900
- Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa Tel.032 708 000
- Thipurai Beach Hotel Tel.032 514 500, 092 994 2446, 094 624 7949
- Whale Hua Hin Hotel Tel.032-522 202