BANGKOK – The Bangkok Post is carrying a hard-hitting article on the state of Thailand’s tourism industry, claiming that it needs “a top-to-bottom restructuring from the ministry level down to related departments and the private sector and local communities”.
“Obviously Thailand’s charm is still irresistible,” say the writers, Chadamas Chinmaneevong and Sriwipa Siripunyawit
“But with all the recent dramas of political unrest, months of protests, a coup, martial law which is still in place, plus a series of tourist murders, how long the lucrative industry can continue to seduce visitors and keep its slice of the tourism cake is open to question.
“The question is even more pertinent in the face of rising competition from neighboring Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, the latter emerging as the belle of the ball in the region,” the article’s authors say.
Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui are singled out as destinations that “have been tainted and exploited by profit-obsessed business operators, or sometimes mafia types, who dominate local businesses”.
Sugree Sithivanich, the deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says in the article that a number of tourism operators take advantage of tourists, noticeable from the increase in tourism frauds.
“Thainess in terms of food and culture has not really changed but Thais’ morality and integrity have changed for the worse,” Sugree says.
“Natural resources are one thing. But Thais and Thainess are also the country’s strong selling points.
“So Thais shouldn’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. That’s not clever,” he says