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Reputational disaster in Phuket: the secondary impact of the tsunami on inbound tourism

Jumpei Ichinosawa (Department of Cultural Anthropology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 January 2006



To provide a theoretical perspective on and an empirical understanding of the decline in Phuket's tourism, the secondary impact of the 2004 tsunami.


Based on qualitative field research intermittently conducted between February and July 2005, this paper describes the process and mechanism of this secondary impact (the reputational disaster) in Phuket. The main data sources are semi‐structured interviews with Thai and Japanese workers at hotels, restaurants and tour operating companies.


In the disaster‐stricken beach resorts of Thailand the effects of the tsunami can be seen as a long‐term socioeconomic phenomenon. The decrease in the number of tourists has brought about serious stagnation in the regional economy. The post‐tsunami tourism decline is a complex process involving risk‐induced stigmatization of the region and historically embedded vulnerabilities in the local society.

Research limitations/implications

This paper does not provide quantitative data and analysis. The research should be treated as pilot‐research for further study.


This paper focuses on the secondary socioeconomic effects of the tsunami in this tourism‐oriented area. This topic has as yet only been briefly examined. In addition, the concept of “reputational disaster” is introduced so as to expand the perspective of the risk‐induced stigmatization model based on a social amplification of risk framework.



Ichinosawa, J. (2006), "Reputational disaster in Phuket: the secondary impact of the tsunami on inbound tourism", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 111-123.



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