Low-cost carrier AirAsia has been slammed for taking out an ad in Australia with a slogan which critics say promotes sex tourism.
The offending ad, which says "get off in Thailand", was splashed on buses throughout the city of Brisbane and on a billboard outside of Brisbane Airport. It is part of the airline’s promotion of its flights to Bangkok, Thailand.
Collective Shout, an Australian grassroots campaign movement mobilising and equipping individuals to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media, said the ad promoted sex tourism and trafficking, which Thailand is infamously known for.
It claims that 32,000 of 250,000 western male sex tourists in Thailand are Australian.
Brisbane Airport has since removed the billboards, while AirAsia also confirmed it would be removing the ads from the remaining buses, and apologised for any offence caused.
"We take community feedback extremely seriously and sincerely apologise for the concerns raised," an AirAsia spokesperson said. "AirAsia confirms the campaign had ended and our media partners have had the last of these advertisements removed."
It is unclear if the Malaysia-based airline or its long-haul subsidiary Thai AirAsia X, a joint venture between AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia, took out the ad, only Thai AirAsia X operates flights to Brisbane from Bangkok.
In Singapore, the airline is running a campaign 'AirAsia Holiday Quickies’, a play on the sexual innuendo to promote quick getaways from Singapore to nearby South East Asian countries.