I am aware of the fact that this is starting to be a "dead horse" subject with me but I wouldn't write about it if this wasn't new information.
The latest stories are just mind-boggling as it is starting to appear as though Thailand is actually intentionally sabotaging its own tourism sector. I know they aren't but seriously, this is starting to seem like one of those situations where the lunatics are running the asylum.
The Thailand Health Minister, Anutin Carnvirakul had an impromptu press conference at a Bangkok train station a few days ago after he was trying to do some PR by handing out surgical masks to tourists to I guess protect them from Cornavirus. After a few of the white tourists refused the free gift, who it was presumed were European even though there is no evidence of this, the Health Minister went on the record in a racist rant that certainly doesn't help the already tarnished image Thailand has been trying to avoid.
He referred to all Europeans as "fucking farangs" and said "they should be kicked out of Thailand."
Now, if you aren't living here you might not know what "farang" means. It is a generic term to refer basically to all white people and it is considered by many to be offensive and racist. I know that I don't like being referred to as "that white person" any more than someone might like to be referred to as "that black guy."
While the jury is out on the terminology, that isn't the point. He singled out one of the largest demographics of Thailand tourism and basically treated them as lessor subjects who can and should be "kicked out" for not doing his bidding.
He later, presumably under pressure, walked back his comments and apologized, but it was clear that he isn't sincere about this.
Unfortunately for him, the handing out of free masks didn't make international news, but his public rant and generalization about billions of people did make international news.
What do you do if your overall tourism numbers are dropping badly anyway, then a health scare keeps your "bread and butter" nationality of choice from visiting at all and overall tourism is seeing massive losses even during what is normally the busiest time of year?
Introduce a fee towards the few people that remain of course!
Pipat Ratchakitprakan has been the director of the Thailand Tourism Ministry for nearly a year. In that time this country has seen the most dramatic drop in tourism on record. Of course a lot of this has nothing to do with policies directly related to his leadership but the fact that introducing a fee for tourists would even be discussed right now suggests to me that he doesn't really understand what the problem is.
You don't identify the few people who haven't yet abandoned this country as a tourism destination and then treat them WORSE in order to improve things.
Plus the Tourism Ministry needs to look beyond their own coffers and perhaps consider the millions of Thai people that depend on what is nearly 1/5 of the overall GDP for their livelihoods.
This proposal is very unlikely to be enacted since it immediately received harsh criticism from major players in the tourism industry who complained "there are already too many fees levied on tourists!"
I just don't understand how the administration can do such an unbelievably terrible job. It seems every time I turn around there is a new mandate, a new requirement, a new limitation, a new fee that is going to convince people to go to other, nearby countries which are already net recipients of what was once almost exclusively Thailand's piece of the tourism pie.
Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia are already aggressively advertising internationally to steal even more of Thailand's thunder and if Thailand doesn't do something positive soon, it may become impossible for them recover.
Even though I will soon be out of this country I still know a ton of people who are completely dependent upon tourism in order to survive. Hopefully, these people will remember these actions when it is time to vote.
Diversity failed, Everyone go back home to where you came from lmao!
Always baffling how people come into office and work tirelessly to make a system regress. A country that has tourism as one of it's Mainstays should surely be finding subtle ways that are within their "national pride" limits to accommodate outsiders.
These politicians often have followers and I suspect they're the ones giving him ammo to propagate the xenophobic reaction. Face masks? Lol those weak ass masks don't stop shit, you're still going to get sick if someone sneezes on you by accident.
It is also baffling how politicians have immunity to make racist remarks and get away with it. This is why I stopped watching local news or giving a shit about who's minister of what and who's making stupid utterances. But in those times when I forget and maybe read or watch something on YouTube, it is almost always something stupid.
Update: I mentioned you in this post about my horrible Sunday. I reckon it is something you'd like
It is short sighted and crazy. You can't impose more fees on the tourists you have left to make up for the shortfall. Typical idiots and a harsh lesson they need to learn. Just think soon they will be begging for tourists to come back and will have to slash fees to attract them. Two steps forward and 10 steps backwards.
Last November when I told the boss I was off to Thailand, I got raised eyebrows. That is what people think here when you state your going to that country.
'He's off there for a week of shagging'
I think that's another stigma that needs to go.
I always find it funny that big cities have a fee that they add on to their hotel rooms. I don't remember what it is called, but I know you have to pay it in Chicago and it is fairly significant. It probably exists in New York too, but the times I have been there I either stayed at a friends or in a hostel. The crappy thing is the city is already expensive enough along with the cost to get there. You want to make it worse by charging an extra fee for people to stay there! People still keep going though, so obviously I am the only one who really cares about it. I know it will never happen, but maybe one day they will open their eyes and see what others are doing. Coming from a state that has a huge tourism economy, I just read a report that stated in 2014 visitor spending hit $22.8 billion and for every dollar the state spent in tourism advertising they took in $6.87. That is pretty impressive I think. Who knows what more recent numbers look like.
Thailand is getting more expensive. It used to be a budget friendly destination even for us ASEAN neighbors. Although some parts of the north are still affordable, Bangkok accommodation is now more expensive from the last time I was there. And they make everything a national park which cost a lot to enter as a farang.
It would have been more awesome if you have fallen in love with a bargirl ;-)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Thailand...
This Thai bureaucratic mindset is sort of comically sad...yet, it reminds me of the retards that lead our governmental offices within the US of A :>) Entry level porters often possess more brain power than the top brass. :>)
Wow, only politicians can be this stupid! I do hope they learn before it's too late.