Thailand Tourism

Increasingly, among the flood of new tourism texts, destination studies are making an appearance, and this is to be welcomed. However, this relatively short book is a curious one, purporting to address the needs of both students of tourism and potential visitors to the country. In its attempt to appeal to these distinct markets, this new text tends to fall between two stools. Its appeal to the latter reader rests on a number of suggestions for tourist itineraries, followed by helpful tips on Thai gastronomy, sexual and social mores and cultural attractions. However, these references are interspersed with chapters dealing with violence and marriage in Thai society, Theravada Buddhist practice and the application of semiotics to tourism in Thailand , clearly aimed at the more academic reader. Unusually for an academic writer, Berger has developed a refreshing simplicity of style (he is a former Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Art), which many students at undergraduate level will welcome, but the author's attempt to introduce his readers to the writings of sociologists who, inter alia , include Barthes, Baudrillard, Simmel and Lefebvre, with liberal quotations from these writers' books, is ambitious in such a brief work. One is led to the conclusion that the text is best suited as an introduction to the country for academics about to embark on their first visit. The opening chapter, designed to provide an overview of global tourism, is weakened by outdated figures and occasional statistical errors (and I am worried by academic authors prepared to cite Wikipedia as a source of reference). Most of the accompanying photographs are of the guidebook variety, they enhance the layout, but do little to enlighten the text.