Wichit Na Ranong, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said: "In a few months there will be a lot of social problems. We need more work for our people. We need the tourists to come back and spend their money, to restore people's livelihoods, otherwise we could be in trouble."
As far as the accommodations and infrastructure are concerned the beaches on the West Coast of Phuket were the most effected by the tsunami. These beaches included Patong, Kata and Karon (Post-tsunami - Damage and Recovery, 2005). Approximately 200 of the hotels were damaged and 3,000 of the island's 32,000 rooms were destroyed. However, the damage created by the waves was limited to less than one kilometre inland (Post-tsunami - Damage and Recovery, 2005).
Although many accommodations are readily available Fresco (2005) points out that many accommodations in Phuket and other islands had only reached 15 per cent of their total capacity; compare this to the previous year when hotels were filled to 90% capacity (Fresco 2005). An article found in the Observer asserts that "Phuket is totally back to normal, but it's like a ghost town (Tourism Hangs in the Balance, 2005)," In addition, "More than 80 per cent of rooms that were booked and still operational after the disaster were cancelled by tourists. The irony is that the Tsunami has created the cleanest seas the area has known for 20 years (Fresco 2005)."
Another challenge to the security of the tourism industry in Thailand is the extra money that the government is spending to keep the people of Thailand employed. For instance, Fresco (2005) reports that "In an attempt to keep as many people employed as possible the government is paying for hotel workers to leave their jobs and get more training in their field. Senior managers at the leading resorts are also taking unpaid leave during what should be their busiest time. Rumours of redundancies stalk all the hotels where staff far outnumber tourists (Fresco 2005)."
Challenges related to Quality Management and the Sustainability of the tourism development of Thailand
The Ninth National Economic and Social Development Plan has been formulated to guide tourism development in Thailand. This plan is responsible for achieving quality management in the area of tourism in Thailand. In Thailand there has been a Major emphasis placed on the philosophy of "sustainable development" that is the balanced development of human, social, economic, and environmental resources. In order to achieve its objectives the NNESDP has to obtain the support of all sectors and one of the essential sectors is tourism (Inskeep, 1991).
Two strategies for tourism under the NNESDP have been advocated. The first of which is the promotion of service industries assistance in the creation of employment and improvements in income distribution. Local participation in the development of quality tourist attractions is also highlighted by the NNESDP. Domestic tourism and the coordination of tourism development with neighbouring countries, appears to be encouraged along with the development of new services including production, business, and health services, support consistent with local economic, social and cultural conditions.
The second part of the tourism strategic plan under the NNESDP refers to the preservation of community surroundings, art and culture, as well as tourist attractions and archaeological sites in order to enhance the locals' quality of life and the local economy supporting the sustainable development of tourism (see Literature Review Matrix in Appendix A). Town planning should be used as a mechanism to coordinate environmental management to achieve liveable and viable cities (http://www.nessb.go.th).
Society can be regarded as another tourism resource (Angell et al., 1990; Ekins, 1997) and likewise it is safe to assume that it may affect tourism activity as well. The anticipated further tourism development in Thailand through the NNESDP with respects to the local society can be both negative and positive; indicating that the degree of sustainability of the Thai tourism industry may depend on the nature of the anticipated social impacts.
One of the negative aspects of Thai society is the abundance of prostitution that exist in the Country (Englund, 1998,. In addition, the spread of HIV has become rampant in recent years. According to Rittichainuwat et al. (2001) these factors can give tourists a negative view of the country and influence their decision to vacation in the country. This social reality challenges development practices under the NNESDP and the sustainability of tourism in Thailand. According to Poong (2004), the primary objective of the NNESDP is to enforce the Thai economy and tourism as an industry within this economy that can contribute heavily to this.
It is suggested in this section that sustainable tourism development for Thailand requires efficient use of resources, public participation and communities to be involved in the tourism industry. Enhanced productivity of tourism services, understanding and respect amongst people in the community, integrated decision making and planning are also very important. Conservation of Thai traditions, cultures and ancient remains, higher levels of education (i.e. foreign languages, or training) for the hosts and the encouragement of democracy and decentralisation are among the potential positive social impacts (Wyllie, 2000). This can create a positive view of tourism and community for the locals more involved in the tourism industry, which may create higher standards of service for visitors and reinforce the multiplier effect between social and economic impacts.
5. Methodology (5-6 pages)
5.1 Choice of research design
The proposed research, intends to assess the impact of the tsunami on the sustainability of Thailand's tourism industry and critically examine the NNESDP and sustainable management practices and theories.
These are the factors that can provide the author with an insight into the potential of sustainable tourism development in Thailand. However in order, for the investigational perspective to be triangulated the relationship between these two components of development will be investigated.
For the proposed research both secondary and primary data will be collected and analysed. The researcher will use the secondary data to construct the theoretical framework of the research whereas the primary data will be used to verify, or reject this framework, in order to allow more precise results (Saunders et al., 1997). This exploration intends to allow a comparative analysis, a spherical view on sustainability for the Thai tourism industry and impartial information; which are elements essential for accurate and therefore valid conclusions.
Construction of research design
The research will be divided into three main sections. These sections are as follows; the examination of sustainable practices and theories, the examination and evaluation of the impact of the tsunami and the NNESDP with respect to the sustainable tourism potential for Thailand; along with the interrelation of these parameters. The qualitative data for all the categories are to be obtained from academic text-books, scientific journals online, or published, along with selected internet sources for this study. The researcher has used secondary research, which is composed of data and information from various academic documents and articles divided into documents from the public sector, such as academic articles, books, theses, and related research and documents from the private sector such as entrepreneurs of private tourism and private organisations for tourism development, documents from internet websites, news from journals and newspapers, and related policies and laws. This type of information can be found in printed sources (books, magazines, newspapers, research reports, journal contents and government/NGO statistics) as well as in electronic sources (CD-ROM encyclopaedias, software packages, or through online services).
Conversely, Quantitative data is will not be obtained by academic text-books, because it is at least a year out-of-date, which suggests a risk that the research may be invalid. On the other hand, quantitative information through text-books should be taken into consideration, as it can contribute to the discussion on the subject and build a healthy critical analysis that appears to be important for a valid argument (Punch, 2000).
Primary research is concerned with the design and implementation of original research. This data can be gathered through interaction with other people such as during meetings, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and surveys (http://www.leveltendesign.com/primary-research).The intricacy of the current subject and the academic nature of the research may not allow the future of the tourism industry in Thailand to be predicted, in terms of sustainable development accurately; and this therefore jeopardises the validity of the research. Instead the aim of the research is to critically discuss the potential for sustainability for the Thai tourism industry, under the NNESDP.
Consequently, the proposed primary method has the ability to verify and triangulate once more the research rationale, as a means of increased validity and objectivity, because it can provide the author with data complimentary to the literature information directly related to the investigated issue (http://www.ryerson.ca) and in real time. This however presumes that the most appropriate primary research methods have been adopted (Punch, 2000), according to the research aim set.
In this sense, the objective of the proposed primary research is to verify, or reject the theoretical framework of the secondary…