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Swedish, Nature conservation freak, Passionate about Africa, Loving Peace, Politically neutral

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The great benefits of the Thailand unrest

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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Anonymous said...

its not the Thai tourist industry that suffers. its ordinary thai families that make their living on all these tourists, shop keepers, family restaurants , taxis and so on. Its not at all a good thing as this will increase the unrest and can lead to a collaps. Vietnam has far to go to get in par with Thailands service industry. I think if they get more tourists it should be because the themselves increasing the number of visitors. not because of a tragedy that hits an at least somewhat democratic country.

Geoffrey Goines said...


I know that the Thai people will suffer from this. But I therefore hope for something good to come out of the whole situation, e.g. tourist discover other countries and indirectly help these countries to develop a sustaniable tourism industry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous - in fact I give a shit in the entire tourist industy. At least related to this conflict.

As a thai-married farang, for 9 years, I'm more concerned about the situation for the country in general - and that something good comes out of this to benefit the Thai people, without too much bloodshed.

If this marionette prime minister Somchai does not resign, the result could be a new military coup - not at least because the military support PAD.
That would really be a setback for Thailand.

If the tourists go elswhere; I couldn't care less.
There are about 10 mill. poor people in Thailand, and none of them have their income from the tourist industry.
Those who do will shurely suffer a bit, wich they always do during every low season. But generally quite well payed.
Anyway; when this unrest is over, the tourists will come back - they always doo.

Anonymous said...

The climate crisis is the overwhelming problem right now and for the next few decades. Thus, the first thought that came to my mind hearing about the occupation of the Bangkok Airport was "Great! at least a temporary pause in the unsustainable fossil fuel vacation behaviour". Read for example George Monbiot in The Guardian, Nov 25, 2008.

Geoffrey Goines said...

>Anonymous 1

Thanks for the information. As I said in the original post, I dont know much about the conflict in Thailand. However, I do see how this particular country is attracting huge number of tourists, which now, for good or for bad, have the opportunity to discover new destinations.