Why Thailand lost some but still winning

    Did it ever came up to you why Thailand and other Asian countries are still making waves in tourism even if bombings and other bad things happen in their place? Or why their airports are twice or thrice as big the size of our airports? Or why despite tsunamis, mutiny, riots and political chaos, Thailand still winning the hearts of tourists around the world? Consider this. Two days before we left for Bangkok last August 26, there was a reported bombing in the city. I did not read the papers before we left so I only found out about it as soon as I landed at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan Province, about 25 km east of downtown Bangkok.

    But seeing the new Bangkok airport for the first time removed all my worries. The airport itself is already an attraction. Named by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in reference to the golden kingdom hypothesised to have been located somewhere in Southeast Asia, the airport was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects. It has the world’s tallest control tower (132.2 m), and the world’s third largest single-building airport terminal (563,000 m²). Standing proud in steel, glass and modern artistry, Suvarnabhumi is one of the busiest airports in Asia and is also a major air cargo hub. A modern motorway connects the airport, Bangkok, and the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard of Thailand, where most of the manufacturing for export takes place.

    Facilities, transport and traffic systems and infrastructure are three basic things to ensure the influx of tourists in a certain region or area. This is why Thailand, despite the recent political disturbances, remains a prime destination in the world.

    I chose a seat on the window side so I could enjoy the view during take-off and landing. While approaching Suvarnabhumi airport at about 1045 p.m. (Thailand time), I saw the well-lit expressways and major thourughfares within Bangkok City. The road systems speak of how Thailand has prospered into a bustling economic player in Southeast Asia. The road systems, just like Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, follow a uni-directional traffic route that provides for a free-flowing traffic at any given time of the day. The vehicles could pile up on a certain intersection but only for several minutes. The road systems were designed for heavy volume of traffic and increasing economic activities.

    Next to its airport and properly-designed and maintained road systems, Thailand’s natural terrain and beauty is another attraction. The floating market for example never cease to amaze and inspire foreign tourists as Thailand brilliantly preserved its culture for the rest of the world to see. The fruits and agricultural products are not simply commodities or economic variables, but also one of the tourist attarctions. I tasted the lansones of Batangas but none so far could match Thailand’s sweet and mouth-watering lansones. Surprisingly, you don’t have to travel far from Bangkok to have one. All you have to do is wall along the streets of downtown Bangkok and buy from the street vendors. The bananas, rambutan, mango and other fruits are likewise superb. The real sweetness found only from naturally grown and fruits harvested in maturity.

    The people are another story. Although I would give our country the highest score as far as hospitality is the issue. We are more friendly and we smile a lot. The Thais are a little stiff but quite as accommodating as we are. This is my first time in Thailand, and I am truly thankful that I met the Thais for I now understood why they always say Asians are all alike. We look like them. We eat like them. We eat Chinese foods. Sweet and spices are always in. We like noodles, chicken, meat and all other ingredients of a warm wanton. In short, we are Asians.

    And while the poeple have a good story to tell, Thailand just like other fast booming countries in Asia, has become a tourist hub because of what it sells, what it markets and what it showcases. The Thais have cultural presenattions and magnificenmt shows like elephants playing soccer or the cricodiles swimming with men. There are also the long lines of malls, boutiques and flea markets. The street eateries also add to the color of Thailand’s beauty.

    Everything you want in one place. Entertainment and relaxation. So far, Thai massage is number one in my list as far as spa and massage is concerned. Yes, I had my Thai massage with other friends from the Pampanga Press Club. And all I could say is that if only for the maasage, the whole trip is worth it! That is how good they are. Thanks to my ninong, Mayor Marino Morales.

    All the necessary ingredients for tourism are in Thailand. This is why they have the numbers and the non-stop flow of earnings in dollors. The infrastructure, transportation, culture, entertainment and extra ordinary attractions. The Philippines is not very far, especially that we are the most warm and friendly people in the earth. We also have the best foods in the world. But we need to perk it up in terms of policies, systems, facilities, infra support, and atttractions. Why not copme up with a Genting Highland attraction in Tagaytay or Zambales? Maybe, we can snatch a few tourists from Kula Lumpur. Or why not check our food and hotel rates? make them more affordable so we could contain tourists in our country. They come with cheap airfares and stay in affordable hotels while spending the rest of their money for days eating the most sumptuous but cheap food in the world.

    Anyway, this is another tip for out torusim officials. Let us just hope we will become better and earn more money from tourism.


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