"Quest's Profitable Moment
I am in Thailand on assignment ... where once again I am amazed at the energy and dynamism of Southeast Asia. I am also witnessing how this country is truly at a crossroads.
Take tourism: It's a mature industry more than a half-century old. This year Thailand will welcome a record 35 million international visitors. Now, the tourism minister wants to shift the emphasis from the quantity to the quality of tourists coming. The minister told me she wants to increase the length of stay, and the amount of daily spend from visitors. That's not to say Thailand won't remain a haven for backpackers, but the country also wants to attract medical and wellness tourism along with higher spending luxury guests.
What perhaps is most remarkable is how the country is sustaining its tourism industry while at the same time facing a terrorist threat. A bomb blast at a Bangkok shrine two years killed 20 people.
Tourism has also survived the military coup in 2014. With no sign of civilian rule coming back anytime soon, tourists seemingly don't mind the current lack of democracy.
Just last week there was the bizarre story of Yingluck Shinawatra, the former prime minister who absconded from justice. Having been convicted of malfeasance in office, she escaped across the border before she could be sentenced. A scandal, to be sure, on many levels.
Even the monarchy is on an uncharted path following the death last year of the much-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej after a 70-year reign.
Throughout all of this, tourists continue to flock to Thailand to enjoy the chaos of Bangkok, the beaches of Phuket and the mountains of Chiang Mai -- and that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon. The land of a thousand smiles is still grinning, no matter what happens."
http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/01/investi ... index.html