Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Management Style of Cultural Tourism in the Ancient Monuments of Lower Central Thailand

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Management Style of Cultural Tourism in the Ancient Monuments of Lower Central Thailand

Article excerpt

Abstract

Cultural tourism is a vital part of the Thai economy, without which the country would have a significantly reduced income. Key to the cultural tourism business in Thailand is the ancient history that is to be found throughout the country in the form of monuments and artifacts. This research examines the management of these ancient monuments in the lower central part of the country. By studying problems with the management of cultural tourism, the researchers outline a suitable model to increase its efficiency. For the attractions to continue to provide prosperity for the nation, it is crucial that this model is implemented to create a lasting and continuous legacy for the cultural tourism business.

Keywords: management, cultural tourism, ancient monuments, central Thailand, conservation, efficiency

1. Introduction

Tourism is an industry that can generate significant income for the country and, for many years, tourists have been the largest source of income for Thailand when compared to other areas. The reason for this lies in the number of foreign tourists who travel to Thailand. This number increases every year. In 1960, 81,340 foreign visitors entered the country and generated an income of 196,000,000 baht. This is compared to 2012, when 22.3 million people entered the country. The figure for 2012 was a 15.98 percent increase on the number of visitors in 2011 (19.23 million people). It is estimated that by 2015, tourism will generate an income of two trillion (2,000,000,000,000) baht (Business Education, 2012). This will cause good results in the national economy. There is a large amount of cultural (art) tourism in Thailand, especially concerned with ancient monuments and religious sites. These ancient monuments and religious sites are places that show how modern Thailand has developed as a civilization since the past. They elevate Thai identity in the realms of art, culture, history and archaeology. It can thus be said that ancient monuments and religious sites are important and highly related to the tourist industry (Angkoon, 2004, p.148).

The regional development strategy outlined by the office of the national economic and social development board concerned a number of provinces in lower central Thailand, including Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Kanjanaburi and Suphanburi. These four provinces are very important for history, archaeology, Buddhist values and works of art. This area has a suitable geography for civilizations as the land consists of mainly flat plains on three levels and many important rivers. These rivers are either branches of the Chaopraya River or independent waterways, such as the Tha Chin and Mae Klong Rivers. These rivers are intersected by many others and it is common for the area to flood in some seasons. The flooding causes the fertile dregs of the rivers to settle on the land and over time have caused the soil to become appropriate for agriculture. The rivers also provide a mode of communication. This area has thus been used as home to many people in the past and present, causing the existence of a long history, civilization and art. The area has the correct characteristics to attract tourists, as there are clearly important attractions and visible evidence of the progressive and regressive evolution of the different territories found in the ancient Kingdom of Thailand.

From the observations and excavation of Thai and foreign archaeologists, abundant evidence of human residence in the past has been found, especially in the areas around the small and large tributaries that stretch from Kanjanaburi to Tak and traverse through Ratchaburi. Here, the middle-age history of Thailand is combined with the early history of Thailand. The ancient communities of the time had forms of communication for trade with other communities of the same time and as far away as India, China and the Middle East. This caused fast and increased social development and a communal culture, which was known as the Dhavaravati Kingdom and which flourished from the twelfth to the sixteenth Buddhist centuries. …

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