updated 12/16/2008 4:34:10 PM ET 2008-12-16T21:34:10

Southeast Asia’s leading budget airline said Tuesday it will give away 100,000 plane tickets as part of a regional marketing campaign to woo tourists to Thailand after that nation’s political turmoil.

AirAsia said it was working with Thailand’s Tourism Authority to send the message “it is now safe to travel back to the Land of Smiles.” The Thai tourist business has slumped because of months of anti-government protests that ended last month with the removal of the prime minister.

The airline said the free tickets would be good for travel to the Thai capital of Bangkok from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myammar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and China as well as for flights within Thailand.

Tickets can be obtained only through AirAsia’s Web site from Wednesday through Friday and will be good for travel between Jan. 6 and March 31. Passengers will have to pay airport taxes and an administration fee.

“We hope that this campaign will instill the confidence among travelers and also help to boost tourism, which is vital at this juncture,” Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

AirAsia operates more than 400 international weekly flights that connect Thailand to the rest of Southeast Asia and China. Within Thailand, its affiliate, Thai AirAsia, operates 378 flights weekly.

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