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How Thailand Became a Tourist Hotspot during the 60’s

But the industry barely existed before 1960. Its origins were in fact born out of a dark passage of American history

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Golden temples, beautiful beaches, bustling night markets. Thailand has long been a world-famous tourist destination. It’s expecting a record number of 40 million visitors in 2019 – well over half the country’s population.

And it’s dependent on tourist dollars – it accounts for about 20% of GDP.

But the industry barely existed before 1960. Its origins were in fact born out of a dark passage of American history. Here’s how war made Thailand a tourist destination.

3 million American soldiers sent to South East Asia

The Vietnam War saw over 3 million American soldiers sent to South East Asia. Many would be stationed in Thailand, which became a major ally in the region and home to seven US air bases. At the height of the conflict, some 50,000 military personnel were stationed throughout Thailand.

As America’s involvement in Vietnam deepened, more resources were pumped into the support network in Thailand.

As well as building highways and ports, the US sent aid for other infrastructure and social projects, aiming to improve living standards and combat the spread of communism.

All the while, Thailand’s capital Bangkok became a centre for air travel, as international airlines found it a convenient location to refuel.

It was here in Bangkok where many American soldiers headed for Rest and Recuperation, or ‘R and R’ days.

Thousands of coloured neon signs proclaim the city’s bars, bathhouses, massage parlours, and dozens of luxurious night clubs, each with its pretty Thai hostesses.

The infrastructure built for U.S. soldiers and businesses – at a cost of over $1.6 billion in military and aid spending- created the foundation for today’s Thai tourism industry.

The notorious red-light districts were hard to resist for soldiers who had spent months enduring the terror of the jungle.

And US soldiers were also big spenders, handing over almost $11 million in 1967.

That’s around 22% of total expenditure by foreign visitors. And as the numbers of soldiers and other visitors began to rise, tourism infrastructure increased too.

Plush air-conditioned hotels abound and new shoebox style office buildings dominate the skyline in a helter skelter transformation of what was once a sedate oriental port.

As the war ended in 1975, the number of tourists dropped – but only briefly – the industry would go from strength to strength in the following decades.

The infrastructure built for U.S. soldiers and businesses – at a cost of over $1.6 billion in military and aid spending- created the foundation for today’s Thai tourism industry.

In 2018, Thailand is expected to make $63 billion from tourism. But Americans are no longer the big spenders anymore, another superpower has taken that title – the Chinese.

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Tourism

Quarantine-Free Thailand Reopens for Vaccinated Tourists From 1 November 2021

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to confirm that Thailand is all set to welcome fully vaccinated foreign visitors, including returning Thais and foreign residents, from the approved countries to enter the Kingdom by air with no quarantine requirements from 1 November, 2021.

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Tourism

Bangkok lifts more COVID-19 restrictions

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In response to the Royal Thai Government’s announcement to relax more COVID-19 controls in the dark-red zone provinces, which include the Thai capital, the Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee has also lifted restrictions effective from 16-31 October, 2021.

Restaurants and eateries, cinemas, theatres, shopping malls, sport stadiums, and public parks can now resume normal opening hours, but no later than 22.00 Hrs.

Convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets can open for all types of goods up until 22.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 22.00-03.00 Hrs.

Hotels, exhibition halls, convention halls, trade fair centres, or similar types of venues can open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., and under strict safety and health controls. Consumption of alcoholic beverages remain prohibited.

The same goes for shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments, which can also open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., and under strict safety and health controls. Consumption of alcoholic beverages remain prohibited. Also, any sales promotional activities shall not be organised while the amusement parks, water parks, and gaming centres must remain closed.

Limits for participants in gatherings has been increased to 50, up from 25 in the previous announcement.

The night-time curfew in Bangkok has been reduced from 6 to 4 hours, or between 23.00-03.00 Hrs.

Travel between Bangkok provinces and other areas can resume normal operations but must apply social distancing measures.

All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops are to remain closed. However, the government mentioned that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.

Self-protective measures and distancing efforts

As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing a face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others.

TAT would like to remind all travellers to continue with D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, – Mask wearing, – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

The post Bangkok lifts more COVID-19 restrictions from 16 October 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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