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Business deals

Expedia teams with Thailand to take tourists off the beaten path

Leading hotel platform seeks more listings outside Bangkok and Phuket

A temple in Mae Sai, near the northern city of Chiang Rai. Thailand is working to bring more tourists to far-flung areas of the country.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Expedia Group is working with the Thai government to list more hotels outside the country's biggest tourist hot spots on its platform, encouraging tourists to venture beyond places like Bangkok and Phuket.

The online-booking group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tourism Authority of Thailand on Tuesday. It will conduct workshops and take other steps targeting hotel operators in 55 smaller cities, like Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, instructing them on how to list their properties on the Expedia platform and manage bookings.

It is difficult for foreign tourists to book hotels outside Thailand's major cities, since few are listed online, the U.S.-based company said.

Expedia is also launching a campaign against single-use plastic products, like straws, to promote a more environmentally friendly brand of tourism.

The Thai government hopes that greater tourist traffic will lift regional economies, and close the income gap between rural and urban areas. It has also signed MOUs with China's Alibaba Group Holding and Japanese online restaurant guide operator Gurunavi.

Expedia receives 675 million visitors a month to its various online-booking platforms, which also include Hotels.com and Trivago.

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