Friday, April 25, 2014

What you can do

As we have learned Thailand's tourism industry significantly contributes to Thailand's economy. Yet after a natural disaster the majority of tourists avoid the countries affected by the disaster. This results in a decrease in revenue which affects the people and the country's economy. Yes, there are many safety concerns and it may not the best idea to pack your bags and head to ground zero of a disaster. But do we stay away too long? After the cleanup is finished and the rebuilding is on its way why are tourists still avoiding these destinations? Is it because they don't know that it is safe to return? Do they think they will miss out on many of the comforts other places will be able to provide to them? Once a disaster hit, are tourist too afraid to return in fear that the same tragedy will happen while they are on their vacation? Here are some ways you can still support the local economy of disaster affected areas like Thailand after the tsunami in 2004.

1. Do your research. Research hotels and tourist destinations to find places that have been least affected by the disaster. Many times hotels reservations are sold at a discount hoping to attract potential tourists.

2. Look for a local booking agency. It may be easier to book through an travel agency, however, your purpose is to support the local economy of your destination, so make sure the booking agency is located in the country you are planning to visit and are focused on keeping the revenue in that area.

3. Don't rubberneck. After some natural disasters the area is not safe for a while and authorities have had to turn them away. Make sure you know that the area is safe so that you do not cause unnecessary chaos.

4. Be flexible and have a backup plan. You may have done a lot of research and planned the trip perfectly, but you may not know your destination is like until you actually get there. You may not be able to get to some of the places you hoped to see. Be familiar with other hotels and routes just in case they are less than what was advertised.

5. Be aware of the warning systems. After the tsunami in Thailand, warning systems have been put in place to ensure enough warning for the people of Thailand. There are apps and other resources to help you know that if it does happen while you are on vacation you have enough time to get to safety.

6. Remember why you are there. You may be visiting to have an experience of a life time but you also are there to support people affected by the disaster. Remember to buy from the local people, places dedicated to helping the local people and Fair Trade.

Luckily, through a slow process Thailand has had the opportunity to recover from the 2004 tsunami. This brings one to think, could the tourism industry have the opportunity to recover faster had people decided not to avoid this destination even though it was safe to return?

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