Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Bangkok Podcast

Apr 9, 2024

Greg and Ed interview their old friend Stuart of Travelfish, master of all things travel and tourism in Southeast Asia. Greg begins by reading a quote from an article on the weird duality of tourism: by sacralizing a location, tourism results in its ‘desecration by footprints.’ Stuart gives his take and undoubtedly agrees that this is generally true, hence his take on ‘environmental tourism,’ or tourism that is very conscious of its effect on the locations it promotes. He explains that the cons of tourism for locals (such as crime, drugs, environmental damage, etc.) can often outweigh the pros of increased income. 

The guys then discuss the overall effect of the COVID pandemic that more or less shut down tourism around the world. Stuart notes that he had hoped that the shutdown, which resulted in the rebirth and reconstruction of some areas hit hard by high volume tourism, would lead to an increased awareness of the damage and perhaps a new policy upon re-opening. Unfortunately, most countries, including Thailand, have reverted to a ‘growth at all costs’ approach in an effort to get back to pre-pandemic visitor numbers. Stuart laments this outcome in great (and grave) detail. 

The old friends continue with other tourism related issues, such as the growth of ‘secondary tourism,’ or alternative destinations off the beaten path. Stuart notes that this was actually MORE common in the early days of tourism in Thailand, when backpackers would essentially wander the whole country. Alas, over the years, a small number of destinations became so popular that alternative destinations fell by the wayside. Stuart sees glimmers of hope that if the Thai government won’t limit overall tourism numbers, at least they will try to spread the tourists to more locations which could of course limit some of the negative effects of overtourism.

Tune in next week for Part 2 of our interview with Stuart MacDonald. 

Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.