AirAsia offers 100,000 free tickets to Thailand


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Southeast Asia’s top budget carrier AirAsia said Tuesday it would offer 100,000 free tickets to Thailand under a regional marketing campaign to support its tourism industry battered by recent political unrest.

AirAsia said it would collaborate with Tourism Authority of Thailand to bring back tourists and businessmen by “reinstating the core message that it is now safe to travel back to the Land of Smiles.”

Under its campaign themed “Get Your Baht To Thailand” — a play on the Thai currency — AirAsia will give away 100,00 free tickets to Bangkok from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myammar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and China, as well as for flights within Thailand.

Passengers will only have to pay airport taxes and administration fee. AirAsia last month abolished fuel surcharges on all its flights.

“We hope that this campaign will instill the confidence among travelers and also help to boost tourism which is vital at this juncture,” Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

Tickets can only be purchased online at AirAsia’s Web site over the next three days from Wednesday for travel between Jan. 6 and March 31.

AirAsia operates over 400 international weekly flights that connect Thailand to the rest of Southeast Asia and China. Within Thailand, its affiliate, Thai AirAsia, operates 378 flights weekly.

Thailand’s tourism industry is suffering after months of anti-government protests culminated last month with demonstrators taking over Bangkok’s two main airports for a week.

A measure of political stability has returned to Thailand after the parliament selected a new prime minister Monday, but the political turmoil and airport shutdown are expected to discourage travelers from visiting Thailand.