AirAsia has apologised after its advertising campaign was labelled “harmful” in Australia.
The advert containing the phrase “Get off in Thailand” was posted around the city of Brisbane to promote the airline’s direct route to Bangkok.
Collective Shout, a grassroots campaign movement against the objectification of women claimed that the advert was promoting sex tourism in Thailand.
Thailand has over 123,530 sex workers, according to a 2014 UNAids report.
Melinda Liszewski, a campaigner at Collective Shout spotted the adverts on a Brisbane bus and posted the image to social media.
She accused the airline of “promoting sex tourism.”
A spokeswoman for Air Asia told the BBC: “AirAsia takes community feedback extremely seriously and the airline sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused from recent concerns raised.
“AirAsia can confirm the advertising campaign has ended and we instructed our media partners to have the advertising removed as soon as possible today from all locations.”
One of the adverts was spotted at Brisbane Airport. It has confirmed on social media that its removal “is a priority.”
Brisbane City councillor Kara Cook branded the campaign an “absolute disgrace” and said “it should never have appeared on our city’s streets.”
She wrote on Twitter: “Council should be responsible & accountable for the ads on their buses.
“I wrote to the LNP this morning demanding these buses be taken out of circulation. This shouldn’t have happened.”
In response to the criticism, Brisbane City Council said that the Advertising Standards Board regulates advertising acceptability. It directed complaints to the board.