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Transnational tourism after the opening of the borders : A case study from northeastern Thailand and southern Laos

Thawornwiriyatrakul, Warangkana

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After the opening of the borders to formerly communist countries in Southeast Asia, new opportunities have emerged for transnational tourism, combining the highlights of the Southeast Asian countries into touristic programs. This has changed remarkably the situation in some remote areas that previously enjoyed little or no tourism. This disser-tation analyzes the transformations in two of these formerly remote areas: the north-eastern part of Thailand (I-san) and the southern part of Laos near the border to Cam-bodia, an area which had remained largely untouched by tourism until the borders be-tween the communist countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and the more western-oriented Thailand began to become increasingly open. The study investigates develop-ments and possibilities for transnational tourism in the two chosen study areas and de-scribes how tourism development in these areas has taken different paths due to differ-ent socio-political circumstances in Thailand and Laos, in addition to the globalisation of both tourism destinations and tourists. The characteristics of the two studied areas and their respective tourism destinations are described, with a focus on the aspects of acces-sibility and connectivity before and after the opening of the borders. The results show that based on their similarities and differences, I-san and southern Laos attract different tourist groups. In particular, two distinct ways of “doing tourism” can be distinguished: one for Asian tourists (mostly Thais), and one for international tourists, who mainly come from Europe, North America and Australia. The development and structure of the two sub-segments of tourism are analyzed through a quantitative survey of perceptions and preferences of tourists on one hand and qualitative interviews with tourism stake-holders on the other. The empirical results show three different aspects: (1) the differ-ences in perceptions, expectations and demands in the main visitor groups, (2) the strategies of tourism stakeholders, which take different preferences of Thai and interna-tional tourists into account in planning their offers and (3) future scenarios of tourism development in northeastern Thailand and southern Laos and the possibilities for pri-vate and government agencies to improve sustainable forms of tourism that contribute to the prosperity of the region. Overall, this study illustrates an initial phase of transna-tional tourism and the development in the two similar regions, it presents the profile of tourists who have visited northeastern Thailand and southern Laos and suggests posibilities for further development of the respective tourism destinations based on prefer-ence, valuations and ratings from tourists.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Gebhardt, Prof. Dr. Hans
Date of thesis defense: 27 June 2014
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2014 07:20
Date: 2014
Faculties / Institutes: Fakultät für Chemie und Geowissenschaften > Institute of Geography
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Controlled Keywords: tourism , transnational tourism , Southeast Asian , Thailand , Laos
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