In a year like no other, many of the most-read WeChat posts by national tourism boards in 2020 were simple, informational posts addressing the coronavirus crisis, with empathetic letters from the New Zealand and Australian tourism boards, a list of hospitals in Finland, and a mid-summer article from the Tourism Authority of Thailand to publicize the country’s effective response to the virus. A majority of the top articles were published by the three WeChat accounts for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which has made a huge push to promote itself as a first-choice outbound destination just as soon as relaxed travel restrictions allow.
The articles are ranked by the number of views they received by the end of the week they were posted, but we’ve also included the total number of views as of 18 December.
Here are the top 10 posts of 2020:
10. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Adventure sports in Thailand (and announcement on upcoming live streaming from a Thai restaurant in Beijing)
31,931 views for the week of 5-11 December (31.9k views as of 18 December)
This article introduced extreme sports and other active pursuits available in Thailand, including skydiving, flyboarding (hoverboarding on the water), go-karting, paragliding, horseback riding, and more. It also announced an upcoming live streaming cooking class from a Thai restaurant in Beijing.
9. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Bangkok MRT (subway) food itinerary
32,187 views for the week of 12-18 December
This Bangkok dining guide follows the blue line of the city’s MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit), with seven stops and 13 restaurant recommendations, including noodle shops, bakeries, and an award-winning fried pork specialist.
8. Tourism Australia
An open letter to Chinese tourists
33,425 views for the week of 27 January-2 February (36.1k views as of 18 December)
Published on 1 February, this letter from the chairman of the Australian tourism board acknowledged the severity of the growing coronavirus crisis, urged Chinese visitors in the country to seek medical attention if unwell, and reaffirmed feelings of friendship and support.
7. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Shanghai Office
Thailand ranks first in the Global COVID-19 Recovery Index
38,100 views for the week of 25-31 July (38.4k views as of 18 December)
This article shared the results of a Thai media report that compared COVID-19 rates around the world to show that Thailand ranked first both for effective response and low severity of the virus. The article also introduced Thailand’s Safety and Health Administration, in charge of the safe resumption of tourism in the country.
6. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Chengdu Office
Meet us on the beaches of Thailand
40,115 views for the week of 25-31 July (40.1k views as of 18 December)
In this fun, interactive post, WeChat users tapped on illustrations of messages-in-bottles to reveal little postcards from various beaches around Thailand.
4. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Chengdu Office
Hua Hin Travel Guide
43,030 views for the week of 18-24 July (43k views as of 18 December)
This article introduced the seaside resort of Hua Hin, focusing especially on “daka” destinations for great travel photographs, including architecture and nature. The post included a giveaway to win jars of Thai herbal balm if you left a comment about where you’d most want to “daka” in Hua Hin.
4. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
To celebrate 660,000 followers, we’re giving away a free trip to Thailand and other prizes
43,408 views for the week of 29 August-4 September (100k+ views as of 18 December)
Like their very popular giveaway in January, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Beijing office asked followers to play an H5 game on their phones for the chance to win a 7 day trip to Thailand – including airfare – as well as other trips with airfare not included, toiletry sets, restaurant vouchers, and souvenirs.
3. Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand’s response to the novel coronavirus
48,892 views for the week of 3-9 February (59.6k views as of 18 December)
On 3 February, New Zealand announced that its borders were closed to Chinese visitors, and that New Zealand citizens and permanent residents returning from China would be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The simple, informative announcement started with an affirmation of the tourism board’s support and concern for China, and respect and thanks to China’s “medical workers and heroes.”
2. Tourism Authority of Thailand – Beijing Office
Lucky draw | Enter to win a 4-night stay for two at COMO Hotel
82,079 views for the week of 13-19 January (82.2k views as of 18 December)
Before COVID-19 turned Chinese tourism upside-down, the Tourism Authority of Thailand greeted 2020 and the Year of the Rat with a fun Chinese New Year-themed game that followers could play for a chance to win a stay at a luxury hotel.
1. Visit Finland
Wuhan coronavirus: Guidance for Chinese travelers to Finland
100k+ views* for the week of 20-26 January
Surpassing 100,000 views the day it was posted, this was one of the first WeChat articles addressing the novel coronavirus published by a national tourism board. The article stated that there were no known cases of the virus in Finland, and no travel restrictions on Chinese citizens, but it did recommend that anyone who had traveled in Wuhan or had contact with infected people in the last 14 days to seek medical advice as soon as possible. The article listed hospitals throughout Finland, emergency medical contact information, and the 24-hour hotline for the Chinese embassy.
*100,000 is the highest number of views displayed on WeChat.