Is Thailand’s top 2 travel destination in jeopardy?

Let’s face it, this country is utterly beautiful and a great place to visit. Last year saw Thailand reach number 2 top destination for European holiday makers, and who can blame them with such amazing natural beauty in the Land of Smiles?

But is all that about to change with the new laws coming into place by the caretaker government? Have we seen the last of the braided backpackers from Khao San Road?. This week the government started its anti-alcohol drive to rid the country of underage drinking, and rightly so. Yesterday the minimum age of buyers of alcohol was raised from 18 to 25, in an attempt to stop young people from purchasing alcohol a move to reduce the access youngsters have to alcohol. Whilst the government is trying to safeguard young Thai’s from the evil of alcohol, they have possibly alienated the under 25 tourist community, a community with flexible spending power than most.

In true politics fashion, all doom and gloom is being spoken about on many forums and other chat-boards, Personally I don’t see the tourism side being affected that much after except people under 25 choosing to go elsewhere. I see the real problem of underage drinking dens exploding. People who want to drink, and are under 25, will do what they can to get a drink and no government sponsored prohibition will change that.

The long term effect of this change will be interesting to see, will we have a reduction of drinking in Thailand, or will we see a new criminal class emerging for the sole purpose of supplying drinkers their favorite drink…?

11 Comments so far

  1. him (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    This new law, combined with the no-more-than-three-entries-in-three-months visa shit will destroy Thailand as a backpacker / budget traveller hub – something which currently accounts for a huge % of it’s tourist income (with the rest being the scummy middle class family package holidays to “exotic” Samui and Phuket).

    No longer able to use BKK as a base for Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and no longer able to get a drink if you are under 25? What a joke.

  2. Daniel (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

    The test will come when Thai businessmen are out of pocket due to the governments new laws. There is nothing like having political party funding stopped when businessmen start loosing money.

    Time will tell i guess, but at the moment it doesn’t seem that Thailand’s new caretakers value the tourist trade as much as they should do.

  3. Mike (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

    This is ridiculous. I presume they are going to close down clubs to people under 25 completely? Or, they’ll have to start with a wristband policy.

    Does anyone know, are there even any other countries that have age limits like 25 years old? Or is this the highest there is?

  4. Daniel (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

    Checking good old Wikipedia, it seems that Thailand now does take top spot.

    I was also wondering how they will do the bar/club scene. Will clubs just deny entry for anyone under 25, with the fear of them being prosecuted by the police if someone manages to buy a drink illegally?

    Another aspect which isn’t clear is the legality of a 26 year old buying a drink for someone under 25.

  5. gnarlykitty (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

    I wonder how long this new policity stupidity will last? If all this bull is really being enforced, no one is going to live here anymore. I’m so getting out of here.

  6. him (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

    With all these silly new laws, the only people that can stay here and have fun are the criminals, sex tourists, paedophiles and “sent here by the company” ex-pats.

    Welcome to Thailand. Getting what it deserves?

  7. him (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 8:47 pm

    Actually, I just realised, this law will never be able to be enforced after all, how the hell can you expect the 17 year old whores to go with 65 year old white men without getting drunk first!

  8. gnarlykitty (unregistered) on October 14th, 2006 @ 10:58 pm

    Him, WORD!

  9. oakmonster (unregistered) on October 15th, 2006 @ 3:45 am

    Oh gosh, don’t we have a law that clubs must close after 1 a.m.? But then, there are gazillion “afterhour” places to choose from. So, no booze for under 25? Just watch how we’ll run into Kitz somewhere “afterhour and underage”. Heheeee. ;-D

    Thailand. The land of many laws yet not that much enforcement. Fan-frelling-tastic plans as always.

  10. hi (unregistered) on October 15th, 2006 @ 10:36 am

    While Oakmonster has a point, it’s not enough of a point to stop the international image of Thailand being ruined for holiday makers.

    All these laws and regulations, it feels sometimes like the lawmakers don’t think anything through at all, which is kind of expected – thinking things through and applying common sense is not a thai trait. This latest round of laws might be designed to “protect” the Thai youth, but they’ll find a way around it and, really, all’s it’ll do is hurt the tourist industry.

  11. gnarlykitty (unregistered) on October 15th, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

    People in the country are moving forward except the country itself. Soon there’ll be no one living here.

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