Backpacker perceptions of Thailand’s image: Positives, problems and potential opportunities
Keywords:Perception, backpacking, destination image, Thailand, Australia
Backpacker travel is recognised as an important segment of the international tourism business. Within the competitive South East Asian market, Thailand is strongly challenged by its neighbours to hold and grow its market share of global backpackers. However, despite their importance, there is limited understanding concerning the image of Thailand as perceived by the backpacker population. This research note examines the perception of Thailand as a backpacking destination from the perspective of Australian citizens. The analysis is based on data collected via an online survey conducted in 2016. Several positive attributes of Thailand, as perceived by the Australian citizens, are found to be typically appealing to backpackers. However, some negative issues of Thailand are also exposed as ongoing in the minds of international visitors, and specifically the respondents of Australia. The paper discusses how the most problematic issues (sex and drugs) may be dealt. It suggests embracing problems rather than attempting to dispel them may be a way forward. This may resolve problems and differentiate Thailand from its competitors
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