The economic, social, and environmental impacts of tourism on Thailand

Thailand is a very popular tourist destination.The world is experiencing a shift away from traditional patterns of international tourism because of increased wealth and access to travel, and as an result, Thailand is now in fact Southeast Asia's biggest tourist destination. The reasons for its popularity include the ancient architecture, warm hospitality, savoury cuisine and overall natural beauty. Amongst computer parts, garments, rice and jewellery, tourism is one of the major industries of Thailand and is heavily relied upon.

Thailand also receives higher levels of tourists as demographics change; older people travel more, more leisure time is available for individuals and because travel has become more sophisticated. 

There are numerous positive and negative effects of tourism on Thailand’s environmental, social and economical situation. Tourism accounts for 12.2% of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and nearly, nine per cent of the population is employed within the tourism industry.

Impacts of tourism involving food and drinking

Positive: Bring money to local businesses, provides jobs and give the tourists an authentic experience
Negative: The danger of price inflation and the possible adaption/change to please the demands of tourists insted of keeping the business authentic and serving the locals.

Impacts of Ecotourism

Positive: Small groups is better for the environment, funds ecological conservations and strengthens the respect for the locals and culture through knowledge.
Negative: Unclear definition of what is Ecotourism,  the money does not go back to the locals, people are forced to move from their homes and the environment is not protected.

In all it is evident that many tourism factors are contributing to both positive and negative impacts upon Thailand. It is important that the country realises the problems and take steps to sustain tourism. The key is to find a balance to manage the effects of tourism on the country. The type and volume of tourists that Thailand attracts and their activities and behaviour in the country will influence the nature of their impacts.

The more we educate the tourists and the local community about the effects of tourism the better chance of Thailand succeeding in sustainable tourism, a stable economy and protected environment.

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