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Opinion

Ten reasons western foreign tourists are not wanted in Thailand

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Ten reasons western foreign tourists are not wanted in Thailand | The Thaiger
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Adam Judd, writing for Pattaya Unplugged, has opined about western foreign tourists not being wanted in Thailand. He brings up some interesting topics, largely from the standpoint of an American living in Pattaya. Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.

The following are my opinions but based on many talks with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. This also comes from many years of knowing people in all of these demographics and spending time at a variety of local tourist attractions and businesses, not just the view from a barstool – Adam Judd

1. Western foreigners tend to complain more online, troll, write negative reviews and feedback and bicker amongst themselves in general. If you are bilingual or read comment threads and forums, it is mostly Western foreigners from England, America, Australia and Scandanavia complaining. In native language forums for India and Southeast Asian countries there is significantly less complaining and open infighting. This extends not only to forums but in person which brings me to number two….

2. Western foreigners are more demanding in person in general. If something goes wrong, especially Americans like myself, we complain loudly, long and demand a resolution, to talk to managers, etc. Many of the other tourist demographics will not make mountains out of molehills and or get upset over relatively minor issues. There is a reason why most news articles about a foreigner being attacked are usually Westerners, with the odd Korean and Russian here and there.

The sad thing here is that for those from a Western customer service upbringing they understand that a complaint is an opportunity to fix a problem and generally a customer who cares. Because of the face issue with many SEA nationals, they see a complaint as a personal attack or an insult, when it is not.

3. Westerners have in general more of a sense of entitlement than many other countries. Everyone wants to feel important but many Westerners, including myself, want to feel the most important. For someone from a society with billions of people or a social structure that values the group over the individual like the Japanese or parts of India, this isn’t as big of an issue and you get less of the first items, complaining and more demands.

4. Westerners often want to do something their way, and not go with the flow. I am very guilty of this. We are used to things how we like it and if it isn’t just the way we like it, to hell with everyone else. Folks from some societies and cultures are often used to things not going their way, the government running everything and not having the freedoms we often do.

Therefore, they tend to go with the flow easier and not complain, demand, etc. This can extend to minor things like demanding off menu items or services that aren’t on the menu and getting upset about it.

5. We often don’t spend as much as people think. There is a myth, and it is a myth, that no Russians, Chinese, Indians etc. Spend money on vacation. There are plenty of frugal and cheap Charlie’s in every country and there are also big spenders in every demographic. Some of the cheapest cost cutting people I have met in Thailand were my fellow Westerners.

Some of the largest spenders I have met were from the above demographics. It is mostly true, however, that most of the Chinese, Russians and Indians don’t spend their money at bars and gogos. There is a lot more to Pattaya then the bar scene.

Read the other five reasons Adam believes western tourists are not welcome in Thailand HERE.

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Air Pollution

Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand’s annual smog problem

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Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand’s annual smog problem | The Thaiger

Congratulations Chiang Mai. Again you are the world’s Number One.

Sadly, you’re the number one in the world’s worst air pollution, again. The third time in this week alone. And, sadly, because the problem is almost completely avoidable, but not easily solved.

Chiang Mai city has a PM2.5 micron reading this morning of 282, whilst just north of the city in Nong Han they have the staggering reading of 380 (hazardous).

PM2. 5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. Commonly written as PM2.5 particles in this category are so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope.

Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand's annual smog problem | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: airvisual.com

Other heavily populated areas around Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Lampung are also suffering serious smog and smoke problems today. Last week the Royal Thai Army announced it would head to the northern provinces, track down and arrest plantation and farm owners who were allowing fires to be started on their properties. They would work with local rangers to detect the fires and enforce orders from the government not to light fires to clear land in preparation for new crops.

“The newly deployed rangers will be sent to fire-prone areas to patrol for fires and arrest anyone they find starting them. The rangers will also assist fire officers in fighting fires.”

Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand's annual smog problem | News by The Thaiger

If anyone in the government or Royal Thai Army has access to a computer, internet or smartphone, they can download this interactive ‘live’ map which shows all the active fires in any region in the world, accurate to about 100 metres. Or if that’s too difficult they could could drive around the region and look for the smoke. HERE‘s the link to the live satellite imagery and a photo of what smoke looks like.

Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand's annual smog problem | News by The Thaiger

But, even if the government is able to abate some of the local burning off of farmlands on their own soil, they have a more nuanced problem negotiating with the Myanmar, Laos and Cambodian governments to enforce the same limits on their farmers. The winds blow across the borders and, as the satellite images show, much of the smoke is floating across in the prevailing winds from fires in neighbouring countries.

Thailand could show the lead and be a regional facilitator in vital changes to agricultural practices which are causing human tragedy and enormous damage to the region’s tourist potential. ASEAN (where Vietnam is the Chair for 2020) has the regional ‘teeth’ to be able to bring these changes about and help arrange subsidies for farming districts to jointly share the costs of the harvesting and plowing machinery that would render the annual burn-off unnecessary.

Health effects

PM2.5 particulate are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath.

PM2.5 particulate primarily come from car, truck, bus and off-road vehicle, construction equipment, snowmobile, exhausts, and other operations that involve the burning of fuels such as wood, heating oil or coal and natural sources such as forest and grass fires.

Exposure to these fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths. Long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. (NY Department of Health)

The Thai government rate the upper safe level of air pollution as 50. The World Health Organisation rate the upper level at half of that, only 25 mg per cubic metre. Either way, the smog and smoke levels in Thailand’s north are many, many times the acceptable safe levels for the region’s populations and is doing incalculable damage to northern Thailand’s future tourist potential.

Smoke and mirrors, northern Thailand's annual smog problem | News by The ThaigerPHOTO: Survivor Guide Chiang Mai

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Opinion

Major corporations join the fight against plastics

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Major corporations join the fight against plastics | The Thaiger

by Ghislaine Bovy

Reduce. Re-use. Recycle.

The public is now fully aware of the gigantic plastic pollution issue. They know it’s time to act and act now. Many of us have already “gone” into using reusable plastic bags, refillable bottles and buy fruits and vegetables in bulk instead of in individual plastic bags, small shops don’t give you a plastic bag unless you ask and pay for it!, usually.

The public is playing an important role in the fight against single-use plastics but what about the major corporations? Are they doing their part?

Consumer product companies are now adopting ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ strategies and that’s what I call positive news.

There is also a business reason behind this trend – consumers are demanding more sustainable goods and services. People are now ready to buy goods and services at a higher price provided they are respectful of the environment.

Unilever for example has implemented its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan as early as 2010 and they have to keep their promise since consumers will hold them accountable. Their goal is to convert all packagings to be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable and to cut by half the use of virgin plastic and collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells by 2025.

As an example of the corporation efforts, most of Unilever home care bottles use 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials.

Another consumer goods corporation, Nestlé is implementing a number of immediate actions in order to speed up the transformation of its products in line with consumer trends and choices.

Leading by example, Nestlé Indochina is now using paper secondary packaging and Nestlé worldwide is developing packagings that will reduce their environmental footprint by using climate-friendly ingredients and alternative packaging materials.

In the cosmetics industry, L’Oréal committed that by 2025, 50% of its products’ plastic components will be recycled or bio-sourced and 100% of its plastic packaging refillable, rechargeable, recyclable or compostable.

“Sustainability is a new licence to operate, and it’s the condition inherent to the company’s long-term success and to safeguarding our planet. It’s clear that corporate social responsibility is a strategic issue for L’Oréal.” said Ines Caldeira, chief executive of L’Oréal Thailand.

Food operators are also joining the fight. The Oishi Group, for example, implemented “recycle and reduce” programs such as switching the company’s gyoza and sushi packaging via delivery to paper boxes instead.

Hotel, Restaurant and Coffee chains are also making extensive efforts to reduce their single-use plastics usage.

The Phuket Hotels Association goes a step further than supporting the reduction of the usage of single-use plastics by their members, they are addressing the core of the problem – education.

They launched the Green Planet Learning Hub which includes a green learning centre/workshop curriculum catered for Thai students. The Green Planet Learning Hub will provide education and awareness raising programs regarding Environment & Sustainability to Thai students between 8-15 years of age in Phuket.

Their aim is to educate 5,000 Thai children per year, approximately 100 students per week. Click HERE to read.

Now that the large corporations are joining the fight and children are learning more about the environment, it’s also up to you and me to do our part so let’s do this!

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Events

March 2020, the Thai month of cancellations

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March 2020, the Thai month of cancellations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The annual Songkran celebrations are under serious threat from the coronavirus

March will end up as the long month of cancellations. With Songkran looming, one of the busiest times for travel in Thailand, and increasingly one of the biggest annual tourist magnets to the Kingdom, cancelling Songkran would take Thailand into unchartered tourism and economic territory. Fears, real or imagined, are forcing companies and governments to assess their risks associated with the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. But that’s what’s starting to happen.

But if the mega festivities and parties, big and small, aren’t cancelled soon, it will cause unnecessary expense and inconvenience with Songkran (the Thai New Year) only five weeks away. Around the country Thais traditionally head home for festivities and local celebrations with their families. For tourists it’s a popular pilgrimage where the water fights and parties have become a massive attraction in their own right.

The annual Thai splash-fest is a major generator of business for hotels, road transports companies, food & beverage services and airlines. This year the Songkran holiday runs, officially, from April 11-15 (but many workers will apply to take off the Friday before). Many of the festivities linger on for a few more days, principally in Pattaya and Chiang Mai.

Already officials have cancelled the annual Wan Lai Festival activities scheduled for April 16-17 in Saen Suk Municipality near Pattaya. It is sure to be just the first of many cancellations on the way.

Earlier this week the Moto GP, a growing and hugely popular international sporting event in Buriram, was postponed until another future date can be set.

Meanwhile, just today, the popular Koh Phangan Full Moon Party has been cancelled for March 8 with the Mayor saying there will be no other parties until the threats of the Covid-19 virus have passed.

And that’s only the tip as airlines start cancelling services amid growing international concerns and governments are spurred into actions that may end up restricting or complicating travel arrangements.

As Shakespeare wrote “Beware the Ides of March”. Just ask Julius Caesar.

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