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Impacts of tourism on cultural infiltration at a spiritual destination: a study of Ban Wangka, Thailand

Aunkrisa Sangchumnong (Suan Dusit University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Metin Kozak (School of Tourism, Dokuz Eylul University, İzmir, Turkey)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 19 May 2021

Issue publication date: 28 October 2021

619

Abstract

Purpose

The challenges of both community-based and heritage tourism result in significant impacts that have occurred in many tourist areas. These negative effects are the main problems that damage indigenous communities and are involved with cultural heritage preservation and economic development. This study aims to apply a qualitative method to scrutinize the problems and their causes in a community.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applied a qualitative method to scrutinize the actual data. The 50 informants from the relevant stakeholder groups of Ban Wangka village were interviewed with 22 themed questions based on the indicators of sustainable cultural heritage destinations.

Findings

Results indicate that tourism development at Ban Wangka village faces significant challenges due to the conflict between economic development and cultural heritage preservation.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations also exist. First, the Mon people use their own language which resulted in the need for an interpreter during interviews. Therefore, sometimes it was impossible for the researcher to access the informants’ actual emotions. Second, this study is based on the concept of sustainable tourism development, which is an abstract idea to the local people, and thus Mon people understand it but are never concerned. Finally, this study focused only on the Mon community, which is not enough to fully achieve sustainability. Therefore, the community from the Thai side of the river must also be involved.

Practical implications

Such challenges have a direct impact on the sustainability of tourism operations. This indicates that the problems will lead to serious conflicts in the future unless they are resolved gently. The Ban Wangka Mon village is faced with problems that are not very different from other tourist attractions in Thailand, especially the intense growth during this time, which has brought significant changes to the destination. Subsequently, conflicts arose easily and quickly because of the motivational power of income. To overcome these problems, the community needs to be strong in fighting against the influence of tourism income.

Social implications

The challenges of the destination have a direct impact on the sustainability of tourism operations. This indicates that the problems will lead to serious conflicts in the future if they are not resolved. Ban Wangka Mon village is faced with problems that are not very different from other tourist attractions in Thailand, To overcome these problems, the community needs to be strong in fighting against the influence of tourism income. In addition, good tourism planning that places importance on all stakeholders equally and providing a balanced income management plan and a fair share of income will surely eliminate many of the conflicts.

Originality/value

This case study of Ban Wangka Mon Village is based on the theory of sustainable tourism development, which contains three dimensions: environmental, economic and social and ethical. All impacts from tourism at Ban Wangka Mon village can be summarized into four challenges consisting of severe tourism growth, economic growth conflict, identity deterioration and behavioral changes. Some of these challenges are similar to other destinations such as the Vlorë Region.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research can’t be completed if without their help and support. The author would express their heartfelt to thank you to Professor Dr Tadsanee Paitoonphong, Proffessor Dr Adarsh Batra, Dr John Barns and the Ban Wangka Mon Village.

Citation

Sangchumnong, A. and Kozak, M. (2021), "Impacts of tourism on cultural infiltration at a spiritual destination: a study of Ban Wangka, Thailand", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 477-493. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-09-2019-0163

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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