Thailand: Tourism & The Truth

By Agnes Escobar. When we think about Thailand the first words that pop into our minds are paradise, nightlife and beaches. A country filled with much culture and history and stunning scenery, it is no surprise that it is a hot spot for tourist. Thailand’s tourist activities  are abundant and its beauty is one of a kind, but there is always more than what meets the eye.

When we travel to foreign lands as tourist, we only see the beautiful picturesque side of any country. Going behind the curtain of Thailand’s tourism can be an eye opening act, which is what BBC Thailand: Tourism & The Truth Documentary does. Starting Stacey Dooley, we’re given a glimpse of what we don’t see and how tourism has taken a hold of the land. Specifically looking into the city of Phuket, which is one of Thailand’s oldest cities and many other beach destinations. Tourism plays a big financial factor on the islands but what affect does it have on the local residents.

With many hotels running along the coast line and charging a reasonable price for most travelers, it’s a buzzing vacationing spot year round. These Hotels are kept on top shape and provide amazing service to create a relaxing and spa like environment for their guest. Behind the glam, most employees work 6 days a week and barely make above the minimum wage, yet it’s not enough to maintain a family of 4. Dooley interviews employees on their life away from work, demonstrating how hard living could be on minimum wage. Many stay in hotel staff rooms because they cannot afford the rent of Phuket and its tourist pricing. Along with the fact that most hotel employees work to send money back to their families and tend to not be able to see them for years at end, it is an ugly truth we don’t see. The living conditions of these rooms are moderately clean besides the fact it is 3 people per room, but permission is needed to go out of the quarters and no visitors are allowed. The employees that earn more and are able to rent a place on their own have a harder time to barely meet their shopping necessities for the month. Yet being able to have more freedom out of work is worth the extra money and poor living conditions.

On the north side of the beach are the Sea Gypsies, native residents of the land. This community of fisherman and land cultivators have been traced back to decade old settlers. These residents are fighting with developers in order to keep their lands from being turned into tourist attraction. The biggest tourist attraction would have to be the Full Moon Party that is held in the small island of Koh Phangan. This does bring in money to the locals of the island but the massive amount of people and the chaos that is brought with all the festivities is something the island can barely keep up with. All these difficulties brought on by the ever growing development of tourism and the demand for cheap prices.

We always have the tendency to not worry when were on vacation but turning a blind eye to what is unfair, is unacceptable. There are many ways to provide help but the easiest would be to respect the country you are visiting and show your gratitude to the people who assist you. A tip may not solve all the issues but it can make a world of difference for someone else.

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