Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Classy Tourists: Tourism in Thailand after the Coup

This story is great. Tourism to Thailand hasn't suffered much at all since the coup. That's not too surprising--while I imagine things were a little tense for the first few days, it's hardly been dangerous for foreigners, or even Thais, on the streets.

But at the same time, tourists are so stupid sometimes. People think this of Americans. In a lot of ways, they are right. But let's not underestimate the cultural ignorance and stupidity of the rest of the world please. The picture accompaning this story says so much. A smiling white tourist posing between a 2 soldiers while holding up a newspaper declaring the coup. Very culturally sensitive there.

Now I'm glad that the Thai coup has proven non-violent. And it's good for the Thai economy that they are continuing pushing tourism (though not so good for the Thai environment). But I have known enough tourists on my travels in Thailand to know that they are laughing it up, thinking that living through the coup is a big adventure to tell their friends about at home, and not thinking about the quality of life, freedom, or democracy for the Thai people one bit.