Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

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#1 Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:09 am

Tourism and Sport Minister Weerasak Kosurat wrote:“Besides more pink dollars, we want to see more big smiles from the gender-diverse community visiting Thailand.”


The hunt for pink dollars

By Phatarawadee Phataranawik

January 12, 2019

While marriage equality is yet to clear the legislative thicket, advocates are encouraged by the country's efforts to woo more LGBTQ tourists.

The Life Partnership Bill still has a long bureaucratic path ahead and an election and post-election uncertainty to endure before it could become law. But its recent approval in the Cabinet was an important initial step in making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships.

Brightening prospects further for Thailand’s sizeable LGBTQ community is the government’s interest in pursuing “pink dollars” – revenue derived from tourism programmes that appeal to LGBT travellers.

With a social climate widely seen as tolerant towards non-heterosexual orientations, Thailand has been called a haven for the gay and transgender lifestyle. The authorities are increasingly seeking to capitalise on that global reputation by encouraging more visits by foreign LGBT tourists, as well as the rights activists and artists who support the community.

Both the public and private sectors are preparing to host events that will appeal to that social segment.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) runs marketing campaigns aimed at LGBT tourism and, among many other plans, the Hong Kong-based Sunpride Foundation will next November be bringing Asia’s largest LGBT art exhibition to Bangkok.

“LGBTQ are seen as a high-potential market with an above-average level of disposable income,” TAT deputy governor Srisuda Wanapinyosak told The Nation Weekend. “In tourism terms, they tend to travel more frequently than the demographic average.”

In a recent report, LGBT Capital estimated the global LGBT population at 496 million, with 4.5 million LGBT people living in Thailand. Global purchasing power was calculated at US$3.6 trillion and spending on tourism at $5.3 billion.

Srisuda said the TAT had begun targeting this segment five years ago, but the market remained niche and hasn’t yet reached its full potential. With the Cabinet’s endorsement of the Life Partnership Bill, though – however troubled its future might be – the marketing is growing more aggressive both domestically and globally.

“The key to tapping into the LGBTQ market is to understand the diversity of preferences and respond accordingly,” she said. “It’s also important to welcome LGBT people genuinely and not be superficially ‘LGBT-friendly’.”

There are three main components to the TAT drive – events spanning entertainment and lifestyles like the Songkran festival and the Wonderfruit and White Party gatherings; high quality in the destinations, hospitality and cuisine on offer; and legal support from the government.

The TAT hosted an LGBTQ symposium in Bangkok in September that drew travel agents from 50 countries.

This month Srisuda will lead a road show in Spain. About 20 Thai tour operators will join her at Fitur, an international tourism-trade fair being held in Madrid.

“Fitur is one of biggest tourism fairs in southern Europe and features a Gay Pavilion,” she said. “Thailand will have a presence as usual, but this year for the first time we’ll also have a booth in the Gay Pavilion.”

Spain, of course, has already had a good look at Thailand. Spaniard Angela Ponce Camacho was in Bangkok in December as the first transgender contestant ever entered in the Miss Universe pageant. She used her time well, raising awareness about gender and LGBT issues as well as boosting Thai tourism on Instagram.

Game changer

“LGBTQ is a game changer for the tourism business in Thailand,” gender academic Thitirat Duangkong told The Nation Weekend.

“Gender diversity and equality are goals of the United Nations and other global bodies and are even part of the election platforms for some Thai political parties. So it’s quite relevant to the tourism business,” added the guest lecturer at Thammasat University.

“We’re stepping forward ahead off our neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Singapore, so we’re on track.”

Tourism and Sport Minister Weerasak Kosurat said a new Bt30-million Digital Tourism Platform introduced by Kasikornbank will further boost the “pink economy”.

“LGBT people have purchasing power and also tend to be creative,” he said. “Our new Big Data platform will provide information about all target groups, including LGBTQ. They can easily select destinations, activities and services designed specially for them and book online.

“Besides more pink dollars, we want to see more big smiles from the gender-diverse community visiting Thailand.”

A year from now the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre will be in the midst of “Spectrosynthesis II: Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia”, a sprawling exhibition of regional contemporary art with more than 200 pieces by 50 artists. That runs from November 23 into March 2020.

The Sunpride Foundation show debuted in Taiwan in 2017 to critical acclaim. Bangkok will be its second stop.

“Bangkok is my second home and Thailand is the most friendly LGBT country in Asia,” said Sunpride founder Patrick Sun of Taiwan.

Culture Centre director Pawit Mahasarinand said it would also be hosting film screenings, live performances and international symposiums on gender-related issues as well as conducting educational outreach programmes.

“There have been major LGBTQ shows in Europe in recent years, but with the second Spectrosynthesis for artists with roots in Asia, we’re able to share a more distinctively Asian narrative,” said Chatvichai Promadhattavedi, a former Culture Centre director serving as curator for the coming exhibition.

One of the artists involved, Sudaporn Teja, is actually planning to send out a message about the Life Partnership Bill in its current form, which she said falls short of ensuring equality for gender-diverse groups.

Story and photos: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30362082

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#2 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby fountainhall » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:39 am

Gaybutton wrote:1. The Life Partnership Bill still has a long bureaucratic path ahead and an election and post-election uncertainty to endure before it could become law. But its recent approval in the Cabinet was an important initial step in making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships.

2. Srisuda said the TAT had begun targeting this segment five years ago, but the market remained niche and hasn’t yet reached its full potential.

3. “We’re stepping forward ahead off our neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Singapore, so we’re on track.”

1. Unless a miracle of timing occurs, Thailand won't be the first country in Asia to recognise same-sex partnerships and the authorities know that. As a result of a High Court ruling more than 18 months ago. Taiwan must introduce such a bill before end-May. The Justice Minister has announced that it will be tabled in March.

2. I have seen some of those TAT banner ads. Kudos to them for starting the campaign 5 years ago. But as stated, what has been the result? Neither the TAT nor the relevant Ministry announces any figures or facts. Have more members of the LGBT community begun to visit Thailand directly as a result of those ads? I have no idea but I suspect not. The one country where tourism into Thailand is mushrooming is China. There are loads of gay men and women there and some certainly visit Thailand. But do the TAT target the LGBT community there? Something tells me I doubt it.

3. "So we're on track" because we're ahead of Singapore? That's a really dumb statement considering the expense of visiting Singapore, the anti-sodomy law and the increasing frustration the LGBT community feel there. Besides, I suspect The Philippines attracts a great many gay tourists but does not beat the drum about it partly because of the Catholic Church and the generally macho image most Filipinos like to project about their country.

In general, though, I am curious. I wholeheartedly agree that the pink dollar is going to become more and more important in tourism terms. Yet, how does a country like Thailand attract more gay tourists? We know that the dynamics of sex tourism are changing rapidly. We know that sex tourism is not what the government means by the pink dollar. It wants to get rid of the sex destination label. Yet pubbing, clubbing, massage spas and other nighttime activities are important to many gay tourists. Does the TAT highlight them? Not that I can see.

I happen to think Thailand offers a great deal in terms of beaches, culture, local Festivals (some of which are utterly stunning for visitors) and so on. Beaches apart, the TAT does little to promote culture and local Festivals. Look on their website and its impossible to find out the dates of almost any. I realise that the dates for some are dependent on the Buddhist calendar and local chiefs. But it does not even MENTION them! We know that both the amazing Ubon Candle Festival and the equally fascinating Dansai Ghost Festival are normally held in June or July. Yet search June and July on the TAT website and nothing is listed. Absolutely nothing. Not even a mention of these two Festivals with a note that dates will be finalised soon. Indeed there is not even a section listed for Local Festivals!

Look on the website under "Our Recommendations". 40 photos with captions. Not one related to local Festivals - not even such major national Festivals as Loy Krathong or Songkran.

Click on any of the sub-categories for events on the website and your likely dates. Click under "Performances" and then in the sub-category "Music and Concert" and then "Bangkok". Even if you put in the dates for an entire year all you get is "No results Found"! That is total b/s!

More b's is to be found on the first page of the TAT site. It lists the top four attractions to see in Bangkok. Wonderful. Naturally the Grand Palace complex, Was Pho and the Royal Barge Museum are in the list. Great! And the one that comes top of the list? The Aksra King Power Theatre! The what? Well, if you read on you discover that the third floor is the home to a famous Thai Puppet Theatre. Now we are getting somewhere. But why list the theatre and not the Thai Puppets?

Then the first thing you see is that the it is only open from "Thursday to Sundays" in the evenings. But read on. In the text "Show time: Tuesday - Friday, 7pm; Saturday - Sunday, 1pm and 7pm". How ridiculous is that! The TAT needs some decent consultants to get its act together.

So, I reckon that so far the talk about the pink dollar is all pie in the sky. Until someone in authority actually sits down to work out what the LGBT community look for in terms of vacations (apart from shopping which is often cheaper in other countries), that's where it will remain. A pipe dream.

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#3 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:22 pm

fountainhall wrote:Thailand won't be the first country in Asia to recognise same-sex partnerships

So what? Personally I couldn't care less which Asian country is first as long as they do it at all, and soon. Thailand is, and has been, the most gay friendly country I've ever been to. If Thailand is going to become even more gay friendly, I think that's great - even if Thailand isn't first and nothing highlighted by TAT.

Any moves forward - even small ones and slowly - work just fine for me, as long as forward is the direction things move.

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#4 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby fountainhall » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:39 pm

I agree. I don't care either, but I have younger friends who do. However, if you don't care about lies put out by some sources - not sure if this was really the media or a media person quoting an official statistic - then surely, with all respect, acceptance of fake news is spreading!

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#5 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:41 pm

fountainhall wrote:if you don't care about lies put out by some sources

Ok, tell me - what in the article are lies and how do you know they are lies?

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#6 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby fountainhall » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:48 pm

But its recent approval in the Cabinet was an important initial step in making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships.

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#7 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:22 pm

Like I said, I don't care if Thailand is first, last, or somewhere in between as long as they do it.

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#8 Re: Thailand wants "Pink Dollars"

Postby fountainhall » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:31 pm

And like I said, being "the first" is fake news! ! Personally, I don't like fake news from whichever source it comes - Trump and his merry caravan of liars or a functionary in Thailand.


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