This module is about tourism in contemporary Thailand. It focuses on the physical and human processes that make Thailand an increasingly popular place for tourists to visit; how tourism affects environmental interaction and sustainable development and the interdependent nature of an industry that increasingly relies on other countries, near and far, to supply its workforce and to widen its markets. One consequence of this interdependence may an affect on cultural understanding and diversity both positive and negative.
The scaffold of this module is based loosely on that of popular the American TV series Lost. The module starts with a group of passengers seated together on a plane all heading somewhere, in this case, Thailand. Students discover why they are going to Thailand and choose a suitable destination for them. Each of the subsequent lessons then focuses on one or two of these characters as we learn more about them.
First, students look at what the passengers are expecting form the climate in Thailand and are encouraged to advise them on a more suitable destination or time of year for visiting. Next students plan a tour around downtown Bangkok for a family and understand some of the transport issues in this sprawling city.
Russian tourists (a relatively new inbound market for Thailand) in Phuket are the next focus. Students work out who is working in the tourism sector in this busy resort. Particularly after Phuket was devastated by the tsunami of the 2004, migrant workers from Myanmar (Burma) are working for tourism. Students learn why even health workers are now working for tourism; one passenger has chosen Bangkok for surgery, as medical tourism is a growing segment of tourism in Thailand.
The module then focuses on a gap year student and a honeymoon couple enjoying Ko Phi Phi to explore the development of these islands, how they have changed, the pressure on them and what, if any, sustainble future they have.
Lastly students consider the possible social and cultural effects of tourism in Thailand and some of the ethical issues and responsibilities associated with visiting another country and culture. Students decide whether one character in this module should go and visit a hill tribe in north western Thailand.