Readers' Submissions

Does Thailand REALLY Need Sex Tourism?

  • Written by Levian
  • September 17th, 2003
  • 5 min read




In reaction to the "The End Of The Naughty Night Life", I would like to go over the figures once more as the author is making a number of assumptions which can be safely deemed incorrect.

Based on the figures given on the computation, they (10 folks) stay 2 times 1 month in Thailand per year. Sorry, but that's WAY over the average stays of single males travelling in Thailand (which are used as a multiplier afterwards). Next, 1000 baht per night for a 1 month stay is NOT low end prices. Actually, it is well above average. Hotels account for a small part of the tourist accommodations. How many folks have 400B per night bungalows? Especially amongst single males. Next assumption is that single male = sex tourist. Sorry, but here again, that's wrong.

"And remember this does not account for people who have come, and are coming due to guys lured by the sex industry in the first place. And what if my estimate is too low, and the figure is closer to 10,000,000,000?"

Sorry, fella. It DOES account for people who have come due to sex tourists, because you used the TOTAL number of single males as a multiplier, and that total, of course includes everybody, regardless of referrals.

Damn it! Do you really think that spending 700,000 baht (over USD 15,000) in Thailand (not counting flight tickets) per year is a correct average for single males? Forget it! How many folk are here just over the week end, or spend a few days before heading somewhere else (Bkk airport is the central traffic point in Asia, remember?) And withdraw too the single males who are not sex tourists and the first timers who are NOT coming here to find the prostitute of their dream! And remember that a single guy coming twice in the country is very possibly counted twice in the 75,000 visitors figure, and that many expats are counted as tourists because they don't have proper work permits.

Sorry, buddy, but you got your figures completely mixed up, and the sex tourism is no where near as profitable as you say. The real income related to sex tourism is much, much lower then the figure you mention. On the other hand, sex tourism hurts the regular tourist industry as regular people don't necessarily want to be associated with whoremongers. To give you the odd example, a friend of mine told me he badly wanted to relocate outside of Europe. I told him Thailand was a great place, nice people, cheap, sunny, great food… and he told me he would love to, but that ain't not gonna happen, because, with the reputatuion Thai girls have, his wife won't hear the first word of it. Lol 😉

That's an odd one, but there might be quite a few people going to other places around here, like Malaysia, just to avoid the "sex tourist" label.

I won't talk about the government here, because I don't really know how good (or bad, or whatever) they are, but having been here for a while, and having travelled quite a bit in the country, I am pretty sure that they have every asset they need to be a great tourist location without the sex industry. Many other countries manage to be great tourist locations without relying on a sex industry, and Thailand is capable to do it just as well. Cheap, good food, welcoming people, nice landscape, beaches galore (and nice ones too), every sport / vacation activity you can ask for (except obviously snow stuff), all types of accommodation (from the best hotels to the cheapest guest house), good road infrastructure…and the list goes on.

I am pretty positive Thailand can do WITHOUT sex tourist venues. Thailand does not need those bored, brown sex automats aimlessly drifting around the silver poles. Thai women will always be an attraction – how could we not be attracted to these beautiful, smiling girls? But that doesn't mean that we need prostitutes. Those are usually the bottom of the barrel (untrustworthy, chronic liars, drunk half of the time and completely fixated on money).

Now, what Thailand needs is a lot more of REGULAR night venues, REGULAR entertainment, with later closing times for those venues. (2:00 am closing time is probably not a problem if you are out to get a prostitute and spend the night with her – can't spend a night with a girl you pick up at 6:00 am, can you? But for regular places, that's much too early, so it is actually going against what it is supposed to prevent). What they need is to stop littering and keep their country clean (beaches are getting more dirty by the day, and the same goes for the sea). Thai people like cleanness and it should not be too huge a problem to tackle actually, if it was promoted correctly.

Anyway. My point is that prostitution is not a "necessary evil" for the prosperity of Thailand, quite the contrary, and if prostitution was removed in full, the country would be on the way up big time (Note that "in full" includes not just farang venues. Farang places are just a "cosmetic" matter, cheap, loud, flashy, highly centralized places full of "ugly" women that did not make it into the Thai industry.)

Some will say that, prostitutes and pimps or pimp-like organisations (name it gogo bars, beer garden,… whoever draws his income from the girls intimate parts) would hurt real bad. That's true, but frankly, I won't shed a tear. I think of my pals working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5,000 baht a month, and they too have families to support. Why should prostitutes deserve 40 k+ a month to fuck over people? Why would bar owners, luring on young girls into selling their body, deserve financial safety and good incomes while other folks struggle to get regular shops working? Why should corrupt cops get 10 times as much as their more honest counterparts? Well, actually, they would lose money, all of them, definitely, but it's a chance for them to rethink their life and do something a little more positive before they kick the bucket.

Thailand deserves a lot better then to be known as the world’s largest whorehouse.

Stickman says:

Very well said indeed. I agree with all that you say. When you live here and get to really know the Thai people, you get to see that sex tourism is not good for anyone. It's eradication would be good for everyone and really, the government should try and do something about it. The problem is, as I see it, they cannot. Poverty means that it will exist until poverty itself and the economic imbalance is somehow fixed.