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Pro-poor tourism policy in Thailand

Srisantisuk, Somparat (2015) Pro-poor tourism policy in Thailand. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This study is an attempt to determine how tourism and tourism development policies, strategies and initiatives impact income generation and employment opportunities in a rural ethnic community. The research consisted of both qualitative and quantitative methods. In-depth interviews, focus group discussions and participatory observations from various stakeholders were used to obtain qualitative data. The quantitative data were gathered using a researcher-developed questionnaire to obtain data from 330 households in Had Bai Village, Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand. The research findings demonstrate that the well-being of the poor and the impact of the Thai government‘s One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project in terms of livelihood improvement were distributed unequally across the village. The information from the qualitative and quantitative data revealed that the OTOP project improved slightly the livelihood outcomes of villagers in the group which fully participated in the scheme. By contrast, the villagers who were aware of OTOP but did not participate used their right to borrow funds to make independent investments and buy consumer goods. Members of this group were thus unable to repay their loans on time, had no return on their investment and had the highest amount of debt. Those villagers who were unaware of the OTOP scheme and did not participate were the poorest in the village. An analysis of this third group revealed that non-participation was largely due to a lack of access to information. Moreover, these families did not regard themselves as poor. They were happy with their simple life and did not perceive any benefit in participating in the pro-poor tourism project introduced by the Thai government. Pro-poor tourism may benefit the poor in many parts of the world; however, in the case of Thailand it works mainly as a catalyst to improve the overall livelihood outcome of the poor and cannot be expected to enhance the individual livelihoods of the poorest. This study contributes to the literature in various ways. First, it is the first of its kind to investigate thoroughly Thailand‘s pro-poor tourism development policy. Second, it has attempted to assess pro-poor tourism from many vantage points: international standards, livelihood impacts, and the assets and vulnerability of the poor. Third, the key success model developed from the outcome of the thesis can be used by Thailand and other developing countries in their efforts to develop more effective pro-poor tourism policies in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Somparat Srisantisuk
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Kumar, Sunil

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