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How Has the Political Turmoil in Thailand Affect Their Tourism


The tourism industry forms the basis on which most countries earn their foreign income. Countries that have unique environmental features such as Thailand will benefit from such an income when people come from all over the nations to behold them (Oxford Business Group, 2009). Despite the unique features that a country may have that may attract tourists their way, there are limitations to such a visitation. Tourists visit a country for no other reason but to relax and enjoy.

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They will hence be attracted to a place that they are assured of such relaxation and peace (Leinbach & Ulack, 2000). A country that is going through a political crisis may not attract as many tourists as it wished no matter the unique features that they have. Thailand has been a good example of a country that has received a less tourist turnout due to the political turmoil that it has been facing (Zebioli, 2009). This is hence making them lose a substantial amount of foreign income which has not only affected them but the whole world at large. In this paper, we are going to focus on the political turmoil in Thailand and how it has affected tourism.

Thailand’s politics

The political situation of Thailand has remained to be unpredictable since a military coup in 2005 that led to the disposition of the then country’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006. The people have shown an open dissatisfaction with their leaders that has made them employ resistance measures (Blainey, 2006). There have been various efforts employed especially by the United States which has been its biggest partner to bring things under control.

This is due to the negative economic impacts that the turmoil is causing not only to the country but also on its trading partners. The United States has tried all means to engage the leaders and the people into dialogue to ensure peace (Brown, 1998). As the efforts proved fruitless, the country was subjected to various sanctions as a means of quickening dialogue and maintaining political sanity in the nation. As all this was being contemplated, the country continued to suffer economically as foreign investors put on hold their trading activities.

The partners of the country especially the United States are also looking for alternative trading partners as the country shows resistance to political stability (University of Sussex, 1999). Political instability implies that no leadership can be relied on. Political leaders are the ones to welcome investors and other foreign partners to the country by assuring them of their safety.

Political stability has to do with sound economic policies as well as adequate protection for the investors. Thailand is one of the major tourist destinations of the world and tourism hence forms a considerable percentage of its income (Hitchcock & Darma, 2007). The political turmoil that has been faced in the country since 2005 has reduced the number of tourists visiting the country. This is mainly because of security issues that they are not assured of. Foreign tourists are usually at great risk when it comes to visiting a politically unstable country. They may be attacked by the local citizens and have nowhere to report them.

Tourists are hence discouraged and even denied visas to visit countries that are facing such instabilities (Harris et al, 2002). The ban is usually done with the aim of the concerned nations to protect their citizens from any possible consequences. There is also a general fear in the minds of the tourists about the management of the tourists’ centers. Most of the cherished tourist destinations are managed by the government and hence their level of maintenance is questioned when a country engages in political battles.

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Politics can not be separated from the economic growth of the country. When people show dissatisfaction with their leaders, they will channel all their strength in fighting poor leadership and lose interest in other economic activities (Dayley, 2009). Politics forms a foundation for the political strength of a country. It is the reason why when most nations engage in political wrangles, the conflicting groups will mainly target areas of economic interest to the country.

This clearly shows how much they have lost hope in their economy as their quest for a change in leadership becomes paramount. This was also the case with Thailand, as people engaged in battles to resist the political leadership, their energy was channeled to such battles and hence not considering other economic activities that are vital for growth. People cared less about tourism as they looked at foreigners as people that may come in support of their opponents (Rocha, 2008). It is usually hard for foreigners to be accepted and appreciated into land on good grounds as some may be viewed as observers that are aimed at interfering with their quest for change.

Its effect on other nations

The most affected nation in the turmoil was the United States being its major trading partner. Other countries in Asia were also affected like china. Thailand was a major economic partner in South East Asia and hence affecting its import and export activities (Mansfeld, 2006). Any change in leadership usually means newer economic policies, depending on the leader that takes up the seat, various nations may be affected.

Political leaders will always choose the countries that they want to partner with and hence putting dilemmas on the nations that had earlier signed such treaties. If a leader that comes to power is also disliked by other international leaders, it may also affect their trading activities in case they do not obtain favor from them. As the country engaged in the battles, they became blind to how their activities affect their economic situation as most of them concentrated on their demands (Columbus, 2002). Even though there was a lot of optimism following the 2007 elections, it will take quite some time before the nation regains its political strength.


Three years of political instability in Thailand resulted in an economic crisis that will not only take time but also vibrant leaders to bring a recovery (Henderson, 2007). As the country stabilizes, they need to go back to the drawing board to come up with strategies that will minimize such future occurrences. The paper has taken a critical look at the political situation of the country and how it has affected the economic activities of the country (Hitchcock, 2009).

The main focus was on the tourist industry as we looked at the security dilemmas that were faced by tourists as they backed off from visiting the country. It has been realized that political instability has diverse effects on the economic progress of the country which may take a lot of time to recover (Eveland, 2001). Such instability will not only harm the country but also the other trading partners that rely on it. It will take dedicated and vibrant leaders to bring faster stability to the country’s economy.

Reference list

Blainey, G., (2006). Short history of the twentieth century. California: I.R. Dee.

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Brown, F., (1998). Tourism reassessed: blight or blessing? California: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Columbus, F., (2002). Asian economic and political issues. California: Nova Science Publishers.

Dayley, R., (2009). Southeast Asia in the New International Era. Michigan: Westview Press.

Eveland, J., (2001). Frommer’s Southeast Asia. London: Hungry Minds.

Harris, R., et al, (2002). Sustainable tourism: a global perspective. California: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Henderson, J., (2007). Tourism crises: causes, consequences and management. California: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Hitchcock, M. & Darma, N., (2007). Tourism, development and terrorism in Bali. New York: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Hitchcock, M. (2009). Tourism in Southeast Asia: challenges and new directions. London: NIAS Press.

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Leinbach, T. & Ulack R., (2000). Southeast Asia: diversity and development. California: Prentice Hall.

Mansfeld, Y., (2006). Tourism, security and safety: from theory to practice. California: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Oxford Business Group. (2009). The Report: Thailand. Oxford: Oxford Business Group.

Rocha, G., (2008). Development Economics Research Trends. New York: Nova Publishers,

University of Sussex. (1999) Institute of Development Studies IDS bulletin. California: IDS

Zebioli, R., (2009). Thailand: Economic, Political and Social Issues. London: Nova Science Publishers.

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