PostTsunami Tourism in Thailand

According to the research in the last decade, the tourism industry in Thailand has been growing and the UNWTO has observed that tourism will continue increasing in developing countries in future. Statistics show that Thailand is one amongst world’s 50 developing countries with tourism as the primary industry sourcing foreign exchange. Regarding tourist arrivals, Thailand is estimated to have 6.9 percent growth in tourist arrivals by the year 2020, having 37 million people visiting the country. It should be mentioned that this would be almost 10 percent of the entire Asia pacific tourism market. A major contributor to Thailand in terms of tourists is Malaysia which amounted up to approximately 12 percent in the year 2005. In 2004, a major break- in for the tourism industry of Thailand happened due to the Indian Ocean Tsunami which brought massive destruction at Thailand’s coast. This was caused by an earthquake in the region which recorded 9.0 in the Richter Scale. It is supposed to be the fourth largest earthquake in the history of the world. It has been documented that waves even up to a height of 13 meters were formed at the coasts of Phang Nga. More than 5300 people died and reports confirmed more than 250000 fatalities. This is considered to be the worst of all tsunamis regarding the destruction it caused. The natural disaster largely affected the tourism industry of the country. The damage was not only limited to the infrastructural loss, it had effects on the tourism arrivals and the safety concerns of the tourists. Additionally, the vulnerability of tourism as an economic and social system has been largely highlighted by the impacts of the disaster (Calgaro and Lloyd, 2008). The coastal communities which were dependent on tourism were largely affected. However, the connection between environmental changes and tourism with reference to its impacts on the community and on Thailand as a nation must be analyzed to understand this issue in depth. According to Cohen (2008), Thailand’s successful post-tsunami recovery is due to a group of factors, not only to the driving forces of the tourism industry. Yet, there are astonishingly very few studies on the effects of natural disasters on the tourism industry in spite of the reality that a large number of the world’s most prominent and thriving tourism areas are exposed to disastrous natural occurrences or societal problems. Thus, the objective of this essay is to critically analyze the impact of the tsunami on the tourism industry of Thailand. The essay identifies the connection between tourism and natural disasters and relates it to Thailand’s context. This is important as this connection would lead to insights about appropriate marketing strategies to minimize the negative impacts of natural disasters on the tourism industry. Tourism developments in Thailand after the tsunami are also being discussed in detail. Furthermore, the essay evaluates the current tourism scenario in the country in the post-tsunami context and recommends suitable strategies to effectively restore Thailand’s popularity as a tourism destination. Natural Disasters and their Impacts on Tourism The Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 demonstrates the hazards of natural catastrophes to the tourism industry and tourism areas. As stated by Murphy and Bayley (1989, as cited in Gossling and Hall, 2006, 286): Tourism can be significantly exposed to natural disasters, because of its attachment to high-risk areas with exotic scenery. The lure of snow-capped peaks brings the hazard of avalanches. Tropical beaches attract tourists to the potential paths of hurricanes… Gossling and Hall (2006) explained that the above passage simply illustrates the truth that natural disasters are no restriction to the operations of the tourism industry. In contrast, the threats of natural catas

You Might Also Like