Thailand: Red v. Yellow

, by KURLANTZICK Joshua, London Review of Books

In recent decades, Thailand has been running one of the world’s most successful national marketing campaigns. Building on its reputation for hospitality, beautiful beaches and splendid food, the tourism ministry has created an image of Thailand as an exotic paradise where travellers are ushered from spa to floating market to Buddhist ruin, all beneath a never dimming tropical sun.

Now, however, the number of tourists visiting Thailand is beginning to level out and even to drop, perhaps because they have noticed what many Western governments, focused on the situations in Pakistan, Iraq and North Korea, have ignored: Thailand, once known as one of the most stable democracies in Asia, is in political and economic crisis. The scale and speed of the meltdown have been staggering.

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