The last couple of months of demonstrations and riots in Thailand seems to escalate even more today as a large crowd of protesters occupied parts of Bangkok Airport, Thailand's biggest airport. I have to honestly say that I have little knowledge about this conflict, but it catches me a bit by surprise as I have always seen Thailand as probably the most stable country in the region. Although Thai civil unrest has been reported as relatively calm so far, it is interesting how this will affect the tourist industry in the country.
Although I do not wish any harm to the Thai people, I also see some good sides with a potential halt of tourism to Thailand. Hopefully other countries in the region, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia can reap some of the benefits by accommodating the huge amounts of people that are going to this part of the world for leisure and adventures. And furthermore, with risk of giving my subjective opinion, I hope that more people might discover Africa as a tourist destination. Countries like Mozambique, Malawi and Uganda have great potential when it comes to tourism, and especially eco-tourism.
It has been long argued that an increase in international trade and tourism will bring many poor countries out of poverty, and into stability and prosperity. Several of the above mention countries really need this boost that tourism can give them. However, it is very important to note that the situation is not, what economists would call, Pareto-efficient. It means that in this moment Thailand's tourist industry has to suffer in order for other countries' tourist industries to bloom. And I can only hope that those countries that now have the potential to become new tourist destinations to it with peace, stability and sustainability in mind.
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