Authentic Thai Hospitality in the Development of Creative Space Destinations

My abstract has been accepted for publication in the conference book, although the organizers do not seem to want me to present the paper at: Well, mine is not to wonder why.

This is the paper: Authentic Thai Hospitality in the Development of Creative Space Destinations


The tourism industry is central to the economic development of Thailand but faces considerable challenges in terms of intensifying competition from other countries and the damaging effects of ugly political demonstrations. To help reinvent the sector and to provide new and fresh products for domestic and international tourists, the government is supporting the creative space destination concept, in which efforts are made to identify opportunities for creativity for individual locations and developing and promoting them. Previous research in this area suggested that success in this regard relies on the use of genuine social capital, stable allocation of resources and good connectivity. One area of social capital that is regularly identified by destination managers is the contribution of Thainess to hospitality. It is often suggested that there is an almost essentialist element to this that makes Thai hospitality uniquely welcoming and worthy of attracting and delighting tourists. This paper identifies the elements of Thainess embedded in hospitality in the context of the tourism industry and, in particular, in view of the desire to foster creative spaces throughout the country. It is argued that, although hospitality is an international phenomenon that may be found in all or nearly all cultures, its expression takes different forms in different places. Further, some elements of hospitality can be identified as meeting international best practice and these should be incorporated into product offerings in every destination. What will vary, though, is the ways in which local content will characterize that international best practice and, therefore, how Thainess is presented to the world. A case study approach is adopted to investigate these issues in different parts of Thailand that are seeking to utilize the creative space concept.

Keywords: creative space, destination management, Thainess, tourism



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