Tourism officials to market ‘Pita fever’

Charismatic leader: Pita meeting leaders of other parties in Bangkok. — Bloomberg

IF the charismatic leader of the Move Forward Party fails in his bid to become Thailand’s next prime minister, he already has another high-profile option lined up – tourism ambassador for the “Land of the Smiles”.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said that it is planning to use Pita Limjaroenrat, 42, to charm more tourists to the kingdom by making him a tourism ambassador.

Pita’s appeal could entice more foreign tourists – particularly younger ones from China, South Korea, and Japan – to visit the Land of the Smile, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Thursday.

Pita, leader of Move Forward, is the candidate of an eight-party coalition to become Thailand’s next prime minister, though some analysts say he still faces a threat from the military-backed parties the coalition annihilated in the May 14 election.

Pita is a great candidate to be an ambassador for Thailand’s tourism sector because he is popular with younger people, Yuthasak said.

“It would be advantageous if Pita agreed to serve as Thailand’s ambassador for the tourism industry since he possesses the qualities of a key opinion leader,” he said.

The marketing phrase – “key opinion leader” – is used to describe an “influencer” with expert or celebrity appeal who can attract attention for a brand.

Move Forward deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakul recently announced the party plans to speak with agencies in the tourism sector.

She did not mention whether or not Pita was considering becoming Thailand’s tourism ambassador.

The formation of the new government is expected to be concluded in August.

Thailand is on track to welcome 10 million visitors during the first five months of this year, Yuthasak said. — The Nation/ANN

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