During the period from April to June2003, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak had a negative impact on Thai economies. The total revenue from tourism was 10% lower than expected.
However many studies of the tourist industry in the country point out that it is extremely resilient and " in the tsunami disaster, a quick recovery process began after a deep sentiment of sadness. Investment recovered very quickly with a view to cleaning up the destruction left behind. Following recent years of strong growth, the economy of Thailand should be in a strong position to recover from this tragedy." (Seenprachawong U.)
There is little doubt that the Thai tourist industry is one that is extremely dependent on changes in the natural environment and influences on the culture from the outside. While the resilience of this industry have be shown in the face of natural disasters, there is a growing concern that both the natural as well as social environment must be protected to ensure future tourism viability. There has been a realization on the part of the Thai authorities that in the past "... Resource conservation, rural development and local involvement were not sufficiently emphasized..." (Rural Tourism - the Impact on Rural Communities II. Thailand) to this end there has been an increased emphasis on the maintenance of a balanced and more integrated view of tourism in the country. Recently the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has developed new polices which "... stress conservation of tourism resources, human resource management, and equilibrium between tourism and the natural and social landscape..." (Rural Tourism - the Impact on Rural Communities II. Thailand) These plans include the following important aspects which relate to the central issues mentioned in the above discussion.
The expansion of tourism sites to local areas, to create new income sources which is distributed among people in all regions;
The conservation and renovation of the cultural heritage, natural resources and the environment;
Public participation in activities related to tourism development.
Rural Tourism - the Impact on Rural Communities II. Thailand)
The case study of Thailand therefore shows clearly that the natural as well as the social and cultural environment cannot be taken for granted. I believe that in order for tourism to be viable and a continued benefit to a country or region continual attention must be given o the various negative factors that can affect tourism.
Asia Market Research. March 16, 2007. http://www.asiamarketresearch.com/
Continued unrest, travel warnings hit Thai tourism. March 16, 2007. http://www.dancewithshadows.com/travel/thai-tourism.asp
Community-Based Tourism in Doi Inthanon National Park:Case Study of Ban
Mae Klang Luang Tourism Alliance, Chiangmai, Thailand. March 16, 2007. http://www.iges.or.jp/APEIS/RISPO/inventory/db/pdf/0006.pdf
Da Silva a. Thailand's Tourism Industry. March 16, 2007. http://bosp.kcc.hawaii.edu/Horizons/Horizons2002/Thailand_tourindusty.html
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS of TOURISM. March 16, 2007. http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:HD_5Srmx1hMJ:www.geointeractive.co.uk/contribution/ppfiles/environmental%2520impact%2520of%2520tourism.ppt+Thailand+tourism+negative+environmental+impacts&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=za
Phuket Travel Information, Thailand. March 16, 2007. http://www.phuket.com/conservation/elephants.htm
Rural Tourism - the Impact on Rural Communities II. Thailand. March 16, 2007.
Seenprachawong U. Nature, the Environment, and Tourism. National Institute of Development Administration Thailand. 2005. http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:flb2Z5SBWBYJ:www.rockmekong.org/events/html_file/socialResearchCHM/files/Udomsak.pdf+Thailand+tourism+negative+environmental+impacts&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=15&gl=za
Smale W. Wait and see for Thai tourist sector. March 16, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5362924.stm
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM in THAILAND: CAN ECOTOURISM PROTECT the NATURAL and CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTS? March 16, 2007. http://www.sustainability.dpc.wa.gov.au/conferences/refereed%20papers/Ross, W%20-%20paper.pdf.
The benefits and problems of mass tourism. March 16, 2007. http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/TLSF/theme_c/mod16/uncom16t02bod.htm
The economic impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) March
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN the HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS
AND the ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME. March 16, 2007. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/Publications/hivaids/all.htm
Tourism in Thailand. March 16, 2007. http://www.american.edu/ted/thaitour.htm
Tourism Thailand. March 16, 2007. http://www.tourismthailand.org/
Figure 1. Thailand in comparison to other countries in terms of destination awareness (http://www.asiamarketresearch.com/images/tourism/tourism1.jpg)
Figure 2. Strengths and Weaknesses of Rural Tourism of Thailand (http://www.agnet.org/library/eb/458b/)
Figure 3. Positive and negative impacts on Thailand tourism (http://www.iges.or.jp/APEIS/RISPO/inventory/db/pdf/0006.pdf.)
Figure 4. Tourism as per cent of GDP (2001) source: http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/677/HTML/docshell.asp?URL=economicimpact_sars.asp
See Appendix for further data on this aspect.
A in1997, 7.2 million overseas tourists visited Thailand. Their average length of stay was fairly long, at 8.3 days..." (Rural Tourism - the Impact on Rural Communities II. Thailand)
Thailand reported 13,246 cases of AIDS to the WHO through December 1994, up from only 14 cases through 1988 (WHO, 1995a)..." (the RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN the HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS and the ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME)