Thailand needs tourism. The industry that brings travellers to the country’s beaches, back alleys and Buddhist temples employed almost 6 million people, raked in US$109.5 billion and accounted for one in every five baht spent in 2018, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
But, according to a recent post on the website Pattaya Unplugged, which claims to be “the Number One Tourist info source in Pattaya”, the Land of Smiles is faking its warm welcome when it comes to visitors from the West.
The snappily titled opinion piece (“Ten reasons why Western foreign tourists are not wanted as badly by the Thai Tourism Ministry versus Indians, Chinese, Russians, Koreans, etc.”) catalogues why the Southeast Asian nation doesn’t care for Western visitors – understood here to mean those hailing from Europe, North America and Australia. Compiled by an American living in Pattaya, those reasons were gleaned from “many talks with people from many different backgrounds and cultures […] not just the view from a barstool”.