Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Unexpected implications - Pattaya, Thailand

Hard to believe as it may seem I think that it has actually already happened: the average daily number of Russian tourists in Pattaya might have exceeded that of local hookers, or so it seems, at least in the high season. And apparently the figures are only bound to increase. I mean, in Pattaya...of all places!
The city tourism has been based on the cheap and easy offer of sex for decades, since the Vietnam war times, when the American GIs used to come here for rest, distraction and leisure.
On the other hand the waves of Russian tourists that have been crashing against the shore of the Gulf of Siam in the last few months are made mostly of families, young couples or mixed group of friends, looking for a few days of relax and fun, away from the harsh continental climate. A couple of weeks of warm weather, beach, seafood and nightlife (that for many of them is of the sinless type) in a cheap and welcoming place with good service and infrastructures. All right, Pattaya's beaches might not be as evocative as the paradise-like ones of the southern islands, but considering the proximity of the capital and of the international airport the location is quite strategical.
If this new trend turns out to bring steadily increasing profits it might even convince the Thai authorities to crack down on the sex industry (at least a considerable share of it) aiming at getting rid of a reputation that many Thais find greatly irritating, frustrating, offensive and humiliating. If we add to the statistics the important contribution of Chinese package tourism this might not be science fiction all. The ever growing number of Arab and Indian tourists don't count much though, as most of them come here mainly for sex.
On the downside, however, the authorities would have to cope with the disappointment and the opposition of the many  prostitutes (not only women but also gays and transexuals) who for the most part come from the poorer areas of the country and manage to support their big families (including children that they normally raise as single mothers) with the income they make from the sex trade. Money that would be much more difficult for them to earn with the low wages of common jobs.
One has to keep in mind that the majority of the prostitutes in Thailand take up that profession independently and by free will. They are not the slaves of any pimp's, mafia, or system. If they actually are enslaved to something, that is only their need. Or, in many cases, their greed.

Video: the infamous "Pattaya Pattaya song"

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