Ministry to catch ‘Pokemon Go’ fever to promote tourism

The Ministry of Tourism and  Sports is now eyeing to catch the appealing ‘Pokemon Go’ fever to promote the country's  tourist spots to the world with negotiation now is underway with True Corporation which owns exclusive right to 'Pokemon Thailand'.

This was revealed yesterday by the ministry’s permanent secretary Mr Pongpanu Sawet-aroon.

‘Pokemon Go’ is a mobile application game which sets users the task of searching and locating the ‘Pokemon’ character that is hidden at various locations.

The game, conceived by John Hanke and requires Google Maps, was released for free download in 26 countries and quickly spread like fever.

But the consequence of this comes with reports of accidents and violent crimes forcing several countries to enforce a strict ban on playing the game in public.

Indonesia, Japan and several states in the US are some notable examples.

But in hindsight, the fault is not with the game but with the human that actually plays the game.

Players must exercise their own discretion and be aware of what is real and what is make believe and not get caught up with what is after all only a game

In Thailand the permanent secretary said the ministry planned to employ ‘Pokemon Go’ as a public relations tool to promote tourism in the country.

He said the ministry is now making preparations to talk to True which owns the rights to ‘Pokemon Go Thailand’ in order to decide on the appropriate course of action.

Under the initial plan 12 tourist cities were selected as ‘must-see’ and ‘must-see plus’ destinations.

The selected cities were in accordance with the Tourism Gateway campaign promoted by the ministry, he said.

But he also expressed that with concerns raised over the possible disorder and commotion that could ensue as has happened in many countries, the ministry would ask True to look into measures to safeguard, if not to prevent, to lessen the chances of this happening in the country.

Readiness of each tourist location would be looked into to handle the expected increase in the number of tourists, cleanliness, security and clear signs to tell visitors where to go.

He said he did not want a recurrence here of the incident abroad where an unfortunate tourist inadvertently walked off a cliff while staring intently exploring the Pokemon game.

He said authorities have listed a set of protocols and policies to ensure the highest degree of safety and convenience for tourists that True must meet during the talk.

He expected that the plan will be introduced in September, saying the benefits from this tool to promote tourism will outweigh the drawbacks.

Meanwhile an expert in the industry agreed with the ministry’s initiative but recommended that the ministry must ensure that the availability of ‘Pokemon’ covers every territory nationwide.

He said covering just a few locations in major cities and towns is not enough.

He also said it was vital that the highest degree of new map plotting be made in order to offset the initial investment costs.

At present the game’s popularity is very high all over the world especially in western countries like the US.

In Asia the game is comparatively new, he added.

He also warned that the ‘lifetime’ of the game was unknown.

But what has been seen in the past, whatever becomes very popular can also fade away quickly, he added.