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PRESS RELEASE

TAT launches new tourism promotion initiative to feature Google Maps with street view

Thais will be asked to nominate the tourist destinations they want photographed for Street View

Today the Tourism Authority of Thailand jointly announced with partner, Google Thailand, the launch of a new tourism promotion initiative featuring Google Maps with Street View and plans to invite Thais to nominate their favourite tourist destinations to be captured in images as Google Maps with Street View cars begin driving across the country.

Following the successful launch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) latest campaign promoting sustainable tourism and a record first half of the year for tourism in Thailand with almost 10 million visitors, TAT is partnering with Google Thailand to introduce an innovation that will change the way Thais and tourists around the world can experience Thailand with a little help from technology and some specially designed, very cute cars.

Street View is a popular feature of Google Maps, already available in more than 30 countries. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighborhood through panoramic street-level images. In countries where Street View is available, users can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange "Pegman" icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.

Starting today, a fleet of Google cars specially fitted with cameras will begin driving and taking street level photographs of public locations across the country including greater Bangkok and other major regional cities around the country. This activity represents a long term investment with the long term objective of capturing imagery across Thailand over the next 2 -3 years. These images will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.

Google goes to great lengths to safeguard privacy in Google Maps with Street View while enabling all users to benefit from this feature. Google has developed highly sophisticated technology that effectively blurs human faces and number plates of vehicles to render them unidentifiable. In addition, Google is extremely responsive to any requests received from users to blur any images that features them.

Khun Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, explained, "We're very excited to be working with Google to bring Google Maps with Street View to Thailand. The internet is a powerful platform for raising awareness and increasing travel to and around Thailand and with Google cars ready to start capturing images today, we see the long term output of Street View as a real opportunity for Thailand to showcase its tourist destinations and unique culture to the world while strengthening our economy. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has always embraced technology and through this partnership we hope to engage more people in sustainable tourism for a better tomorrow."

In addition to announcing the tourism promotion program featuring Google Maps with Street View, with Google cars ready to hit the roads across the country, TAT and Google are pleased to announce preparations for launching a campaign in Thailand to photograph tourist sites and special locations. This campaign will give Thais the opportunity to nominate their favourite places across a variety of categories which will be captured in panoramic images, incorporated into Google Maps with Street View and shared with the world.

Google has partnered with a number of public and private sector organization to capture imagery from dozens of special locations and famed places around the world, including Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Pompei in Italy, Legoland in California, and Versailles in France. You can find images and information about the latest locations here.

Pornthip Kongchun, Head of Marketing for Google Thailand said, "Tourism is such an important contributor to Thailand's economy and with the help of features like Google Maps with Street View we can support our partner, TAT, in their efforts to promote sustainable tourism domestically and internationally by giving people a whole new way to experience Thailand - a country we know and love and are pleased to call home. Street View has so many different uses - for urban development planners, law enforcement agencies, house hunters, travelers, etc - it lets users check out restaurants before arriving, make travel plans and arrange meeting points. Businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their site for free. Hotels can use it to show off the convenience of their location, and restaurants can use it to raise awareness. Google Maps with Street View is another example of how Google is putting the user first in Thailand, and we looking forward to unveiling the beautiful images we capture as well as announcing how Thai people can help us choose where to drive in the coming months."

For more information about the Tourism Authority of Thailand's sustainable tourism campaign please visit: http://thai.tourismthailand.org/home/.

For more information about Street View and how it can be used for recreational purposes and by businesses please visit: google.co.th/streetview.


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