Indian tourists have become a much more important market for Thailand and touted by tourism authorities to become even bigger; in part to make up for the decline in the numbers of Chinese travellers.
India Outbound, a bi-monthly travel magazine, says “until not too long ago, Thailand was not the first name in mind when families in India began thinking of a trip overseas. However, of late, Indian families are turning up in large numbers in Thailand, with many looking for something more exotic than Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya”.
India Outbound describes itself as “the only magazine which is completely dedicated to Indian outbound tourism market” A recent online publication goes on to describe a number of destinations with a section on Hua Hin being the most relevant to us and of considerable concern. Parts of this description are as follows:
“Hua Hin: The hub of theme parks“
“While kids will absolutely enjoy the Camel Republic that has more than just camels within its Moroccan-style buildings, the elders in the family are sure to like Mrigadayavan Palace, a former royal residence by the sea.
After a rather lazy first day, your family may head to (location omitted) watch snake shows, crocodile shows, elephant shows, ride an ATV, go trekking on an elephant, or simply have fun with paintballs.”
Marketing Hua Hin as “the hub of theme parks” with so many more attractions in region on show is at best perplexing.
However to highlight animal tourism with entertainment provided by captive wild animals really needs to be rejected. These activities are acknowledged worldwide for what they are; animal cruelty and not what visitors should expect during a visit to Hua Hin. It’s likely that many families will be turned off by the suggestion.
Let’s hope that India Outbound is not too influential on the outward bound Indian tourism market. We have written to the company expressing our dismay; we await a response!
The Editor; Royal Coast Review Thailand