First success for ‘Ultimate Thailand Explorer’ competition

Launched in September, The Ultimate Thailand Explorers competition is giving to five teams the opportunity to get a free six-days holiday and explore one of five of the Kingdom’s top destinations: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Phuket. Each day, the team –consisted of two fellows- goes around the selected destination and share their experience on the web by uploading videos, pictures, stories on various community websites such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube or through their own blog. Social media viewers will then be able to vote for the team providing the best experience of Thailand. “By inviting real travelers to experience our country as it is and then just report their own experience, we are confident to be able to show to the rest of the world that Thailand is still a great destination for holidays, far from the negative perceptions highlighted by exaggerated news provided by some media,” explains at a Press Conference Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT Deputy Governor for Policy and Planning.

The campaign will bring back Thailand as a favourite destination for travelers. 25 semi-finalists are now being selected to form the five finalists. Results of the five selected will be announced on November 12. Finalists will be flown to Bangkok on December 9 and will then go for six days to their destinations. After an online vote, one team will finally be named the Ultimate Thailand Explorers and will receive up to US$ 25,000 of cash and presents including free air tickets on Bangkok-Chiang Mai, blackberry cell phones, free spa treatments and a holiday package.

Thailand is already a winner in this social media contest: the follow-up on internet has been massive according to Svetasreni: Participants from 59 countries registered to participate in the competition. “Our original target estimates that 1.5 million people would log on our web during the 22-week competition with some 300,000 videos being watched. After only eight weeks, we already registered 248,000 people logged and almost 640,000 videos watched. The contest generated already 576,000 articles on social media compared to a target of 300,000. In total, we already recorded 7.9 million views with a final objective of 25 million views”, says the Deputy Governor.

How will then Thailand continue to capitalize on the ‘Ultimate Thailand Explorers’ success? “We think that we could launch regional contest in other foreign languages such as Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, French or Spanish. We are also looking to include more destinations for future coverage from Ultimate Thailand Explorers,” tells Svetasreni. Winning teams will be announced on January 8 and a press conference with the grand prize winners of the Ultimate Thailand Explorers competition will be held on February 2, 2010.