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In recent years the tourism  was increasingly developed and with its steady growth rate it became the most important source of foreign exchange. Thailand's tourism industry makes up about 6.5 % of the country's GDP. In 1980 there were 1.8 million tourists and by 2005 this had grown to 12 million visitors. In 1987 the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) proclaimed the “Visit Thailand Year 1987” and about 3.5 million tourists were attracted spending more than 2 billion US dollars.

From Bangkok Post, August 23, 2011:
"A report by the Tourism and Sports Ministry puts the total number of international tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2011 at 11 million -- 25% higher than the same period last year, at 8.8 million visitors.
The numbers of tourists in 2011 might grow 22% from last year.

The top 10 source countries for visitors are China (975,770), Japan (664,066), Korea (598,672), Russia (578,532), India (552,321), the UK (498,675), Australia (451,537), the USA (405,442), Singapore (391,923) and Germany (369,634)."

The highest spending visitors are from the United Kingdom, followed by Australia, Malaysia, the United States and China.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

These promotions were mainly aimed at people from Europe and the U.S. According to statistics the average length of stay is ten days with about 150 US Dollars being spent per day.

From Bangkok Post, August 23, 2011:
"Thai Travel Agent Association head Charoen Wangananot said he was amazed to see double-digit growth in visitor numbers -- the highest growth during the past four decades.
Charoen said the growth might be because visitors feel safer now as the political situation here starts to improve. In addition, Thailand still have many types of attractions to suit various types of visitors including a rich culture, diverse nature, shopping and medical packages as well as facilities to host international events and fairs.
If Thailand can maintain political stability, the tourism industry will be one of the major sources of income for the country for the next three years, he said."

Visitors coming to Khao Lak stay an average of 14Days. These promotions lured 3.5 Million visitors, who spent about 2 Million US-Dollar during their stay.

1988 about 7.8Million Tourist were counted. Until 2010 the numbers increase continuously to 16Million, despite SARS, Tsunami and the yellow and red Shirts.
Jobs in the tourism industry
If a waiter in a restaurant don´t understand you, it don´t have to be your pronunciation of words. Most likely he is a guest worker from Myanmar or Cambodia, who just moved here.
Without those guest workers, who are completely ignored by the government, there wouldn´t be any touristic operations  in Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Chang or Khao Lak.
Even on small touristic Islands like Koh Tao or Koh Payam, most of the worker are are originated from poor neighboring countries. They work for a very low wage, but they get 3 meals a day and a place to sleep.
Most of them are not registered, don´t pay social securities and therefore are not able to receive free medical services (Doctor- and hospital treatments).

The common phrase we tourists create jobs doesn´t apply when 8 out of 10 workers in the tourism industry are brought illegal to the country.
But due to the situation that most of those workers have a higher education than their employers, because they went to university in their home country, and that their children growing up without any regular school education intensify the situation even more.
Some people see as a ticking time-bomb.

Pro and Cons

About 1.5 million people are employed in the tourism industry. The income of this sector is four times more than the profits from rice exports.

The internal Tourism is getting more important as many Thai people can afford a short holiday several times per year, especially over the long weekends.
More and more hotels are developing near national parks and nature reserves. During the week these first class rooms are mostly empty and being offered to really low prices.
Although statistically ten tourists create one new job, there is a risk of over-dependence on the tourist dollar. Pollution, uncontrolled  development and selling off their culture are the main issues for the future.

Green Tourism

Thailand 50 Great Green Escapes,
by TAT, Bangkok 2010

You may download this book at this link:

For more information about Green Tourism, Ecological
Tourism and Sustainable Tourism, please click here.

For green travel destinations, please click here.
Tourist Police of Thailand

The Tourist Police can be reached all over Thailand under the number 1155.
In certain tourist destinations a Voluntary Tourist Police Team with members from various western countries are available for tourists who have a problem. They also patrol the main tourist streets every evening.
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