After tourism remains stagnant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is calling on Thailand’s government to appoint BLACKPINK‘s Lisa as the country’s official tourism ambassador.
Drawing in hundreds of thousands of album sales and sitting steady on international charts for weeks, Lisa’s solo debut certainly brought her a ton of success. Interestingly, however, she’s not the only one whose bank balance is rising thanks to “LALISA.”
Last month, shortly after the track was released, Lisa appeared on the Thai talk show Woody Show to talk about her new release. During the interview, she happened to mention that her favorite food is “yuen kim meatballs“—those served in her hometown of Buriram, Thailand. While it was a small, passing comment, it didn’t take long for Lisa’s words to snowball across Thai social media.
Within days, locals and tourists alike began flocking to Buriram Train Station to buy meatballs from the vendors there, along with the special sauce Lisa loves the most. Two meatball sellers told Bangkok Post that before Lisa’s Woody Show appearance, they were only selling a few hundred baht’s worth of meatballs each day. For reference, ฿100 THB is $3 USD. After Lisa’s praise for the meatballs maid business boom, each vendor’s sales rose to over ฿10,000 THB (around $300 USD) daily.
This is unprecedented and business is even better than pre-COVID-19.
— Bordin Ruengsuksriwong, Tourism Industry Council president
Even the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, stated through a spokesperson that the Thai elements in “LALISA” have spurred on the government’s readiness to promote Thai culture and boost the country’s “soft power.”
Gen Prayut admires success of Thai artists including individuals whose works reflect their dedication and determination to inspire many Thais in creative industries in arts, music and films.
— Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Thailand government spokesperson
Now, the Federation of Thai Industries is calling on the government to take real action by making Lisa the official ambassador of Thailand’s tourism industry. The FTI is an organization that brings together numerous industry leaders in Thailand in order to promote the country’s economic development and help Thai enterprises reach international markets.
In a statement this week, the FTI urged Thailand’s government to instant Lisa as the country’s tourism ambassador as borders open to vaccinated travelers next month. “If successful, this will be extremely advantageous to Thailand,” said FTI Chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree, who seemed to have thought the plan out well by telling the government to negotiate with YG Entertainment first.
After Supant noted that Thailand needs to better utilize its “strengths in culture and tourism,” FTI Head of Creative Handicraft Rida Srilomsak agreed that the government needs to adopt innovative ideas to truly promote the country.
If Lisa is appointed the ambassador for Thai tourism, it will be just one of her many major endorsements. Over the years, she’s represented everything from Samsung to Celine to MAC Cosmetics, as well as Thai phone network AIS.