Ladies at the Centre of Thai Tourism: Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor Marketing Asia Pacific for TAT, stands out as being both creative and outspoken
She will often be noticed during official events for her special hair-do (created for her in New York according to some of the staff working closely with her) and her highly fashionable dresses, more often than not created by young Thai designers. The woman in question is Srisuda Wanapinyosak, who has been working for a couple of decades now for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), having been Deputy Director in Paris, and then Director of the New York Office, before becoming Deputy Governor in charge of Asia Pacific. A strong personality, Srisuda belongs to the new generation of women who have a bold vision of tourism—daring to speak her mind and take decisions.
What are some of the things you learned during your time overseas?
I learned a lot from my years in Paris and New York in terms of work ethics. I learned about the strength of efficient and straightforward decisions. Of course, I use it all now at my position in Asia, although I have a different approach to those markets due to cultural differences with the West.
How do you evaluate the position of women in Thailand today?
Women are increasingly active in public life and in the business world. And this is especially true in tourism. Do you know, for example, that according to surveys, travel decisions in a family are made—or at least influenced—up to 90 percent of the time by women? In other areas over 40 percent of women are decision makers these days. This is an irreversible trend and Thailand acknowledges the positive role that women play today in our public life.
Do you think that women have a different vision than men do when it comes to tourism?
We definitely complement each other, highlighting our differences, but this only helps to improve together our lifestyle and, of course, the way to conduct business. For example, women will certainly see little things that men will definitely not focus on. In marketing, I think that women would look at some markets or concepts which might be ignored by a male team. For example, I was very pleased to introduce to TAT the idea of promoting more luxury travel, and go away from the concept that Thailand remains a “cheap” destination. Ladies are experts in that field. They are the largest spenders, as travellers, and they have the expertise when it comes to quality and luxury.
I assume that female travellers’ expertise is the impetus behind Thailand’s recent marketing campaign which is geared specifically towards women, correct?
You are right. Luxury travel pushed us to look more closely at female travel. I worked a lot on that concept, and I am so glad that TAT endorsed the idea. We launched last year our ‘Women’s Journey to Thailand’, a campaign which shows that Thailand is an ideal destination for female travellers. We offer anything and everything women are looking for. Not only in shopping related activities, or in the beauty and spa fields, but also in sports, soft adventure, culture, and gastronomy. And I must admit that I feel proud about the result since we launched the campaign last August. We have now 48 percent of all travellers to Thailand being female, compared to 30 percent a few years ago. And we will continue the campaign this coming August with even more events and special offers!
Is there any one thing you are particularly proud about with respect to your work at the TAT?
I think that the female travellers campaign is one of my most rewarding achievements in marketing for Thailand tourism. But I am also very proud to have been among the first to initiate, in New York, a marketing effort towards the LGBT communities. Just to show that we do not discriminate anybody in Thailand and warmly welcome all communities regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation.