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The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s latest video titled “Love en Route” is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The video is meant to spur tourism in Thailand with a focus on the country’s pristine beaches, temples and beauty. Viewers, however, see a different story being depicted.
“Love en Route” follows an American man that uses the “Love en Route” Instagram user’s profile to travel through Thailand. Negative reviews states that the film is creepy. The American goes through Thailand to find the “Love en Route’s” account owner and is seen more as a stalker than a traveler.
Love sick, he makes advances to the account’s owner several times in an attempt to win her friendship. Eventually, the two spend time together and travel Thailand together before he departs with awkward silence.
Digital Abuse awareness groups and charities are not happy with the video. Digital Trust, a charity that helps abuse victims, states that the film does not depict the real world and relationships. Digital Trust states that the film’s misguided attempt does not take relationships seriously and points to 700,000 victims of stalking in the UK alone.
A member of the Thai tourism board has come to the defense of the film, stating it was not meant for European markets. Meant to be a creative story, the mini-film is intended for the Asian markets where similar concepts are seen on popular television shows.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand further defends the film and adds that they do not encourage stalking behavior. Using social media is a common way of life, and the film is meant to show a harmless tale of romance.
This is not the first time that the tourism ministry has caused a stir with their marketing. Last year, a contest was held where a non-Thai woman could win a luxury holiday along with free plastic surgery.