Retail and property developer Central Pattana Plc (CPN) is gearing up to invest 600 million baht and collaborate with the famous Pokémon brand to launch "The Great Celebration 2024" marketing campaign.
The campaign, which runs from Nov 1 to Jan 7, aims to increase the number of customers visiting its malls across Thailand by 25-30%. It is particularly targeting weekend travellers from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, CPN's chief marketing officer, said Thailand's tourism industry is expected to see a gradual improvement in the last quarter of the year, thanks to the country's free visa policy, improved logistics, and an increase in the number of flights.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects at least 25 million foreign arrivals this year. The latest figures estimate there have been 19 million arrivals so far, generating income of up to 800 billion baht, which has met the government's target.
The top five source markets for visitors are Malaysia (3 million arrivals), China (2.3 million), South Korea/India (1 million each) and Russia (960,000).
Mr Nattakit said the recent tragic mall shooting is unlikely to cause any short-term impact, as no cancellations of hotel bookings in the Ratchaprasong area have been reported.
"The shooting incident on Tuesday was a force majeure and it could happen anywhere around the world. It was fortunate the incident was swiftly tackled. For us, we are fully committed to our customer safety and have implemented rigorous security measures to ensure safety, including security checkpoints at shopping centre entrances and the training of security teams stationed throughout the premises," he said.
According to Mr Nattakit, ensuring a safe shopping environment is the company's utmost priority.
"We have not seen any decline in customer traffic at our complexes, but we will closely monitor the situation," he said, adding that CPN is now ready to move forward to stimulate the economy and spur tourism in the fourth quarter by increasing its marketing budget to 600 million baht, up from 500 million baht last year.
Mr Nattakit is also excited about the introduction of Pokémon-themed experiences to local enthusiasts, featuring exclusive attractions only available at CPN's shopping centres. This includes a colossal 15-metre-high inflatable Pikachu, prominently displayed in front of CentralWorld, which is roughly as tall as a three-storey building. He believes Thailand will emerge as the ultimate holiday destination for visitors from around the world.
Mr Nattakit also noted that as well as the company's campaign, it would be good if the government helped relaunch stimulus measures such as the "Shop Dee Mee Khuen" tax incentive, and the "We Travel Together" hotel subsidy campaign, for the benefit of the Thai people.
Susumu Fukunaga, corporate officer at The Pokémon Co, said Pokémon which has collaborated with CPN several times in the past, hopes that this partnership would generate excitement and anticipation, offering happiness and unforgettable experiences during the year-end festive season.