If anyone with a stake in the country’s tourism industry thought that the new cabinet reshuffle might provide them with a minister able to win back traditional markets, tap into new ones, deal with the lasting impact of the eurozone crisis, position the industry for the creation of the Asean Economic Community and prepare a strategy to counter Myanmar’s growing appeal as an untapped destination, they were in for a disappointment.
Such political visionaries are rare but do exist. However they are unlikely to be attracted to a “non-core” ministry where tourism, a major earner of foreign exchange, is lumped in with sport.
If it is any consolation, the cabinet did approve several worthwhile projects during its meeting on Koh Samui this week. They included a small hospital on nearby Koh Tao and an underwater power cable for Koh Phangan to boost the power supply which should be in place by the time the island’s new airport opens.
Other projects are in the pipeline to promote tourism and develop its potential and these must be carefully thought out to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Often they have taken the form of glossing over the more sinister side of tourism development or condoning it as the end justifying the means.
Industry observers see the biggest problem plaguing the tourism sector in recent years as uncertainty worsened by a lack of political leadership and the absence of clear direction from the top for long-term improvement.
To this must be added the questionable emphasis placed on boosting tourist numbers and revenue targets at almost any cost, even when this comes at the expense of environmental sustainability and overloads public services.
The Clubhouse challenge to digital authoritarianism in Thailand
Launched in 2020, Clubhouse is an audio-based social media platform which allows users to create groups and share stories. Each member can schedule and host a virtual room, and then decide who can speak.
Biden recalibrates Trump’s approach to East Asia
Donald Trump seriously degraded the United States’ role in the region, helping Beijing to escalate the most hostile and confrontational US–China relationship in 50 years.
President Joe Biden has much repair and restoration work to do in East Asia. Donald Trump seriously degraded the United States’ role in the region, helping Beijing to escalate the most hostile and confrontational US–China relationship in 50 years.
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