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The news

Thailand explodes global tourism (and its ecosystem)

05/07/2019 672 Views
Tourism makes the fortune of the country at the same time as it devastates the fauna and flora.
A popular destination for exotic travelers, the Kingdom of Thailand is the fourth most profitable tourist destination in the world. Far ahead of other Asian countries, it generated last year no less than 57 billion dollars (or 49 billion euros) in international tourism revenue.
Behind it, Macao ($ 36 billion), Japan ($ 34 billion), Hong Kong and China (both $ 33 billion) struggle to compete on the continent. In front, on a global scale, only France (61 billion), Spain (68 billion) and the United States, which caracolent far ahead, with 211 billion dollars.

By next year, the number of tourists on the run could reach 40 million, more than half of the country's population.

A continuously expanding offer

For the past three years, Bangkok has been ranked first in the world's destination cities index published by Mastercard, the most visited city, and also the one where tourists spend an average of $ 173 (€ 150) a day, and where we are still expecting a rise of 14% by the end of the year.

"In Thailand, there is something for everyone. From the private island with private villa to the incredible street food that only costs a few dollars, there is the diversity and variety that only exist in few other markets. It is not surprising that many people leave and spend money, "says Rebecca Mazzaro, the manager of a travel agency in Asia.

The city is stepping up its efforts to be more attractive and turn tourism around: big resorts such as the Four Seasons, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental and Waldorf Astoria are expected, as well as the monumental Icon Siam, a set of two skyscraper still under construction that should host by November a Michelin-starred restaurant Alain Ducasse.

"We have seen the expansion of Bangkok in recent years," said Dino Michael, head of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. The consumer has become more sophisticated, and the restaurant scene has become more sophisticated. "For him, the city is a showcase:" It's a world renown and an essential starting point ".

The flip side

But this frantic tourism is not without consequences on the ecology. The islands and beaches of the country are the first to wipe the plaster: in February, the renowned Maya Bay had to announce the closure of its access to boats for four months, the time to regenerate its ecosystem, including its coral reefs , strongly affected by the wastes discharged into the sea and the comings and goings of the boats. At the beginning of October, the authorities declared that it would remain closed, the damages being too consequent. To this echo the other islands of Koh Khai and Koh Tachai, which suffered a similar fate.

In Phuket, the turtle population has declined sharply as a result of beach pollution. Faced with piles of garbage that are constantly accumulating, 70 hoteliers have come together to put in place measures to limit the damage, and the use of plastic on the island.

In the north of Thailand, it is the fauna that suffers from the situation, first tigers and elephants in the line of sight: the animals are abused and sometimes trafficked to constitute tourist attractions.

Still, all this is profitable.

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