Asian Review


Jelka Günther

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In Thailand, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, Thais are no longer merely “hosts” to foreign tourists but also to their compatriots who have become tourists themselves. The rising significance of domestic tourism reveals the need to critically rethink notions of the familiar and the strange in tourism studies. Based on ethnographic fi eldwork in Northeastern Thailand, I argue that Othering is not limited to transnational host-guest-interactions. In the small town I studied domestic tourist encounters were similarly embedded in power relations, namely in the dominant discourses of urban-rural relations in contemporary Thailand. Nostalgic feelings have opened up the countryside as a pleasurable amenity for city dwellers seeking relaxation from work and unbearable urban conditions. Their rural hosts, however, disliked the Other from the city against whom even Western tourists appeared familiar.



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