The End Of The Naughty Nightlife
I’ve looked with interest at the articles written about the predicted end of the sex scene in Thailand due to government action. Obviously it is their country and they are entitled to do with it as they wish, but I take a different view from most about the effect this will have. I think all the comments I have read so far say that Thailand does not need the sex industry, and the government know their economics and have no doubt that the sex industry is not needed to prop up the Thai economy.
I disagree with this and I will give you my reasons why.
Firstly, it seems to me a little foolish to expect the Thai government to get it right about economics. When I am in LOS and read the papers there is always some member of government involved in corruption of some kind. They know about money in their pockets, but I cannot see any sign of a more sophisticated knowledge. I have never seen a city with so many abandoned developments as BKK. And what about the state of the streets, and the infrastructure? Where else in the world can you smell shit everywhere out on the street? And what about their futile clampdown on drugs? They killed a lot of people and frightened the shit out of many more, but drugs will come back. So the government do not fill me with confidence. Point one.
In order to develop my case I have to use my experience of Thailand, as that is what my opinion is based on.
I first came to the country in 1996 for a scuba diving trip with 6 other guys. We had all heard about the sex, but none of us intended to indulge. However, we did indulge, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We also spent a huge amount of money on the girls, far more than we intended to spend on the holiday.
Now normally we move on to different countries to experience the diving conditions, but suddenly we were stuck with Thailand. Trip after trip, and we all know why. If there was no sex industry we probably would not have returned. The diving is OK, but cannot compare with the Great Barrier Reef, the Maldives, the Red Sea or the Cocos Islands. But Thailand got our vote. Only because of the sex.
What’s more, the first group of 6 became 15 for one trip, and mostly averages about 10, and we all come at least twice every year. We certainly would not be coming at all if it were not for the female attractions. After all the air fare from the UK is high, and there are other places we can get to far more cheaply than LOS. For example, there is the Caribbean, the Canary islands, the Red Sea, North Africa etc.
Another thing is that because we enjoyed our experiences so much, a few of us have brought our wives/girlfriends to see the place!!! I say again, this would not have happened if it were not for the sex industry. So the sex industry has brought in many female tourists that would not otherwise have come. Our group has accounted for 7 farang women to have come and enjoyed Thailand. No doubt they tell their friends, and I know of some married couples who have tried Thailand because of the stories from ladies belonging to guys in our group.
So what can I conclude?
Well let’s do some sums. (Math for the yanks)
We stay at the Ruamjitt, which is 1,000 baht per night, and we always stay for 3 weeks. I won’t count the first trip, which was not influenced by sex. So since 1996 and averaging 2 stays each per year we have spent between us 2,520,000 baht for hotels only. (Not counting this year). Ok call it 2,000,000 baht, which is a low estimate.
If we don’t have a girl every night, we are certainly spending on meals and drinks (some more that others). I would say on average for meals, drinks and girls, we spend close to 2,000 baht per day (i.e. per 24 hours). But just to be careful, call it 1,000 baht. You can judge how accurate this is from your own experiences. Total – same as for the hotel – 2,000,000 baht.
So just for 10 of us guys we spent 4,000,000 baht over the last 6 years, and probably quite a bit more. i.e. nearly 700,000 baht every year, and this is a conservative figure.
Bear in mind that these figures are based on staying at a low end hotel, one which suits us, but nevertheless many stay in much more expensive places. I have also taken the low end for spending money. The actual figures could be close to double my estimate.
Now I did see an estimate somewhere, and it might have been on your site Stick, whereby the figures were given for tourists to Thailand, and I seem to remember that a figure of 75,000 per year was given for single males. If that is correct Thailand is picking up 5,250,000,000 baht from single male tourists. A tidy sum every year, and they think the Thai economy would not miss it? 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? Wow!!!
Of course if the guys were stopped from coming, the loss to the economy would be at the bottom end. A hell of a lot of young ladies would have to start tilling the soil and planting rice. Would they be inclined to do that, I don’t think so. What result would there be? Desperate people do desperate things to survive, or to make their life more bearable. A huge rise crime and drug taking would seem obvious to me.
So even if the Thai economy could take the hit, the Thai society would suffer, and that includes the people at the top end who think they are immune.
And what of the Thai police? Where would they get their little extras with no farang to hassle, and no bars to “protect”? They would find themselves with less money, and a job which is very much more difficult, due to the crime rate and the drugs.
On the plus side for us farangs, there will probably be a period when the farangs have nearly dried up, and the girls are desperately hanging on to the bar job from want of any other way of earning money. The prices will go down. Based on simple economics – supply and demand. Also for the guys who want to marry one, there will be many ladies with even more incentive to marry a farang. So some short happy days are on the horizon for the farang in Thailand. After that guys, you will have to move on, but for myself I have no wish to try other countries. Thailand came as a surprise to me, and if it wasn’t for Thailand I would not have indulged in paid for sex, and if it ends in Thailand I will probably never indulge again.
You make a lot of good points which are hard to argue against. There is no doubt that any efforts to eliminate the industry completely would result in a period of economic difficulty for some from the lower echelons of society. But in the long term, surely it would be a good thing to eliminate the industry. Whether it will happen or not, who knows? Once a decision is made and they really do want to go through with it, the Thais do seem to do things quickly and the elimination of such an industry is something that would need to be managed carefully and not done overnight.