Restoring Thailand's Tourism Destination Image in the Wake of the Recent Political Crises: A few Proposals

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John Barnes


As is now well understood, the tourism industry is in a crisis as the result of successive political uncertainty and associated violence. Compounding that issue are external crises, such as the global economic meltdown and H1N1 virus (Swine flu) which followed earlier crises of Avian Flu, and mad cow disease. To deal with such calamities, tourism planning and crisis management methodology have been developed but less effectively applied. This is the case with Thailand that has recently been badly affected by negative and sometimes less-than-accurate reports in the popular press and international media on its political crises: crises or disasters? This is a fine delineation but as this paper shows, a distinction between disasters and crises needs to be made as these words are often used interchangeably when in-fact they are unique. This paper further argues adoption of DESTCON; a scale for classifying crises and disasters. To this end, it proposes adoption of DESTCON as a recognized ranking scale for crises. If media, embassies, and all tourism authorities adopted this scale to accurately inform tourists of the nature and severity of conditions at the site of crises, much of the spin would be removed and much less damage done by sensationalizing the news. This paper concludes with a number of suggestions to more effectively overcome the effects of the current crisis and urges interested parties to continue the discussion and debate.


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Barnes, J. (2014). Restoring Thailand’s Tourism Destination Image in the Wake of the Recent Political Crises: A few Proposals. AU-GSB E-JOURNAL, 2(1). Retrieved from

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