Thailand recruits Martha Stewart to draw female tourists
Jun 25, 2010, 5:50 GMT
Bangkok - Thailand has recruited US household diva Martha Stewart to film cooking shows in the kingdom as part of a new campaign to draw more female tourists, media reports said Friday.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has allocated a 10-million-baht (312,500-dollar) budget to enlist Stewart's help in promoting the country's travel industry, which has been hard hit this year by political turmoil, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.
The authority is now hoping that endorsement by the US celebrity - who hosts a television show, writes books and publishes a magazine with cooking, decorating, gardening and other advice and projects for the home - would help bring tourists, especially women, back to the kingdom.
More than 40 countries issued travel warnings over the April and May clashes between government forces and protestors, which left 90 people dead and parts of the capital in flames.
The anti-government protestors had set up camp in Bangkok's central shopping district, paralysing the area for two months.
Stewart was named the third most powerful woman in America in 2001 by the Ladies Home Journal. Her homemaking TV show continues to have a huge international following although she was sentenced to five months in prison in 2004 for insider trading.
She was scheduled to start filming a series of culinary programmes in Thailand in September, the Bangkok Post said.
Stewart's tour is part of the Tourism Authority's campaign to attract more female tourists aged 25 to 45 to visit Thailand, a country better-known for its more male-oriented attractions, such as a booming bar and prostitution scene.