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Phuket Poll: How do we brand the virus?



Phuket Poll: How do we brand the virus? | Thaiger

PHUKET: It’s all about ‘branding’, baby, and the Phuket Gazette Poll is asking for your views on how a tourist-oriented community might best brand a pest.

Two weeks ago, we learned that the island had lost its romantic rainy season, traditionally known as “The Low Season”. The Low got summarily canceled and “Summer Season” was ushered in. (The weather itself, however, remains essentially unchanged, safely tucked away beyond the reach of man and his pen.)

At about the same time that the Thai tourism authority’s Green yielded to the private sector’s Summer, the flu flew in – literally – from Mexico. Not known for agility with euphemisms, health authorities worldwide labeled the offending virus as “Swine Flu”. That was because it came, at least in part, from pigs. But Thailand felt a bit wary of the name because of the nation’s huge pork industry. So the government forgave the hogs and blamed the whole thing on the Mexicans, dubbing it “Mexican Flu”.

Then the local Phuket Public Health Office jumped into the game and re-branded the plague as “Influenza 2009”. That was somehow going to differentiate the disease from the hugely unpopular virus porking the rest of the world.

We’d like to ask Gazette readers how they feel about these labels, and about euphemisms in general. Should Phuket just call a spade a spade, or should we try to ‘brand away’ those facets of local life that might not be too good for our tourism industry?

The Gazette Poll was re-launched yesterday. Click here to view some alternatives to “Swine Flu”, then cast your vote and let us know what you would do if your were…. say, Chairman of the TAT.


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