Bangkok, 21 February, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has raised its celebrity marketing strategy to a new level by supporting the first surgical mission of Hollywood actor Michael Trevino to visit Thai children who have undergone successful operations for cleft lips and palates.
Mr. Trevino visited Thailand between 8-20 February in his capacity as Ambassador for Operation Smile, a worldwide medical charity, which performs free operations to help children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. A quick 60-minute operation can save these children from a lifetime of problems; such as, difficulty in breathing, drinking, eating and speaking.
Operation Smile medical teams perform hundreds of these operations free of charge but rely on sponsors for support.
TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications Mr. Tanes Petsuwan said that TAT was now proud to be included amongst the sponsors.
Mr. Trevino, 34, best known for his role as Tyler Lockwood on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”, has been a Brand Ambassador for Operation Smile for eight years.
In his first trip to Thailand, and his first surgical mission outside the United States, he spent three full days with the children and both the Thai medical teams performing these operations in North Thailand. The rest of his trip was spent visiting many of the popular tourist attractions in Chiang Mai, Phang Nga, Phuket and Bangkok.
These included a Chiang Mai temple tour, elephant experience at an elephant farm, exploring art and craft at Nimmanhemin Road in Chiang Mai, the northern part of Thailand. The trip to Phang Nga in the South featured island hopping, snorkelling, swimming, and sunbathing on the Similan and Surin Islands. In Bangkok, Michael went to visit the Emerald Buddha, explored the old town by Tuk Tuk to Wat Pho, the Temple of Dawn, China Town (Yaowarat), and enjoyed some classical Thai drinks and entertainment.
Mr. Trevino said he was overwhelmed by the graciousness and hospitality of the Thai people. His most memorable experience was at the Elephant Conservation Camp where he said he learnt a lot about the importance of the animal in Thai history and culture, and the necessity of ensuring good care.
Mr. Trevino said he would be converting all the photo shoots of his trip into a number of video clips and posting them on his social media pages, which includes 1.7 million followers on Instagram and about a million on Twitter. The social media exposure about his mission trip and experiences visiting destinations in Thailand is reaching out to the millennials.
TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications Mr. Tanes Petsuwan said: “This is a new role for TAT. It is in line with our strategy for creating Tourism for All. A smile is the signature welcome of the Thai people. TAT recognises and appreciates the immense importance of the magnanimous effort by Operation Smile to restore smiles to many local children.
“Operation Smile is well in line with the goals of the TAT’s Action Plan, which is to reduce economic and social disparities, promote culture, enhance human dignity, and upgrade the quality of life of the Thai people. Thai tourism does not focus on the economy alone.
“We also promote “Tourism for All” by focusing on quality visitors who travel responsibly and sustainably. Thus, this project has helped to support the Thai people and Thailand to be the real “Land of Smiles”. We all live on the same planet, and a smile is universal, especially amongst children.”
He also thanked Mr. Trevino for his support. “We are especially pleased that Michael has had the opportunity to experience the beauty and hospitality of Thailand, in particular the emerging destinations. TAT organises many campaigns as part of our “celebrity marketing” strategy. However, such partnerships that also contribute to a wider social good are truly unique and heart-warming.”