Mumbai, June 25: Attempting an image makeover, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has appointed Indo-Australian actress-singer and former MTV VJ Anusha Dandekar as brand ambassador to lure more women tourists and focus on ‘girly getaways’ there, an official said here on Saturday.

Dandekar has been selected for her love for Thailand and for symbolising the exact segment the country wants to target, said TAT Mumbai Director Soraya Homchuen.

“Women travelers already represent 30 per cent of arrivals from India, compared to a negligible proportion of our market mix and mostly visiting families on holidays earlier. We want to scale this up to more than double by 2022,” Homchuen said.

TAT will showcase Thailand as a choice for women travelers to escape together for short breaks, weekends, bachelorettes, kitty parties and girly holidays, she added.

Excited by the new assignment, Dandekar said Thailand remains her favourite destination and though she has visited it over 50 times, it never gets old for her.Anusha-Dandekar-

Homchuen said a Thomas Cook survey this year revealed 70 per cent of women prefer to travel with friends compared to family and love the local culture, cuisine, shopping, spa and wellness, and move without a tour manager.

“The women travelers prefer safe, easy-to-navigate destinations and Thailand fits all these requirements the best,” she pointed out.

Referring to various global studies showing that nearly 80 per cent of all holiday decisions are taken by women and between 2011-2020, the women travelers’ segment would grow exponentially, she said targeting women “makes sense”.

Easily accessible by a four-hour flight (Mumbai-Bangkok), tourism accounts for overall 20 per cent of Thailand’s GDP with 29 million tourists from all over the world visiting the country in 2015, with a target of 100 million by 2032.

Dandekar, who was born in Khartoum, Sudan, later migrated to Australia with her two sisters, and parents. She grew up in Kingsgrove, Sydney.

Moving to Mumbai in 2002, Dandekar hosted a fashion television show, MTV’s House of Style and MTV Dance Crew, MTV Teen Diva and MTV News.

She won Best VJ at the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Awards in 2009.

Dandekar’s acting debut came with Mumbai Matinee and then she found popularity with Viruddh where she acted alongside noted Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore and John Abraham

She also starred in the musical Miss Bollywood, in which she portrayed an ambitious dancer.

Dandekar has appeared in Cosmopolitian, Elle and Seventeen and has also been the face of several brands like Reebok, Toni&Guy, Crocs and Lee Jeans.

Shalini Singh

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