On the Edge of Thai Society toward Tourism Employment

Main Article Content

Kanokkarn Kaewnuch


          A comprehensive study was carried out in the tribal area in Chiang Mai, Thailand with a group of hill tribe people, Karen and Hmong. The study aims to explore perceptions of these groups of people towards impacts from tourism employment. This paper seeks to extend our understanding of these two culturally distinct groups by considering them as employees in tourism sectors located in Chiang Mai. The analysis discusses the perceptions of Karen and Hmong employees, working for tourism business managed by Thai nationals. The analysis focuses upon the respondents perceptions regarding their perceived impacts from employing tourism job with the Thai. Due to the limited numbers of hill tribe people, two hundred questionnaires administered. The research demonstrated that the cultural backgrounds and ethnicities of these two tribes do effect their perceptions resulting in differences in their views of impacts from working in the tourism industry. That said, it can be briefly elaborated that despite a few similarities in the perceptions of the Karen and Hmong of positive impacts upon themselves resulting from their working with the external tourism actions (ETAs), the major concerns were focused on the significant differences in their perceptions towards negative impacts as Hmong tend to perceive more of the negative impacts when compared to the Karen group in terms of losing their value and belief in their traditions and sacred sites as they had to deal with them as tourist attractions. Moreover, Hong also strongly projected that they have failed to maintain their relationship with their family due to their working pattern with the ETAs.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Article


[1] Aguettant, J. (1996). Impact of Population Registration on Hilltribe Development in Thailand. Asian Pacific Population Journal, 11(Suppl. 4), 47-72.

[2] Allen, L. R., Hafer, H. R., Long, P. T., & Perdue, R. R. (1993). Rural Residents Attitudes toward Recreation and Tourism Development. Journal of Travel Research, 31(Suppl. 4), 27-33.

[3] Andereck, K. L., Valentine, K. M., Knopf, R. C., & Vogt, C. A. (2005). Residents' Perceptions of Community Tourism Impacts. Annals of Tourism Research, 32(Suppl. 2), 1056-1076.

[4] Andriotis, K. (2005). Community Groups’ Perceptions of and Preferences for Tourism Development: Evidence from Crete. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 29(Suppl. 1), 67-90.

[5] Ap, J. (1992). Residents’ Perceptions on Tourism Impacts. Annals of Tourism Research, 19(Suppl. 4), 665-690.

[6] Ap, J., & Crompton, J. L. (1993). Resident Strategies for Responding to Tourism Impacts. Journal of Travel Research, 32(Suppl. 1), 47-50.

[7] Berry, J. W. (1990). Acculturation and Adaptation: A General Framework. In Holtzman, W. H. & Bornemann, T. H. (Eds.). Mental Health of Immigrants and Refugees (pp. 90-102). Austin, TX: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

[8] Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, Acculturation and Adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 46, 5-34.

[9] Berry, J. W., & Sam, D. (1996). Acculturation and Adaptation. In Berry, J. W., Segall, M. & Kagitcibasi, C. (Eds.). Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology: Social Behavior and Applications, 3, 291–325.

[10] Brant, C. S. & Khaing, M. M. (1961). Missionaries among the Hill Tribes of Burma. Asian Survey, 1(Suppl. 1), 44-51.

[11] Brislin, R., & Cushner, K. (1996). Intercultural Interactions: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications.

[12] Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an Experimental Ecological of Human Development. American Psychologist, 32, 513-531.

[13] Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[14] Brougham, J. E., & Butler R. W. (1981). A Segmentation Analysis of Resident Attitudes to the Social, Impact of Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 7(Suppl. 4), 569–589.

[15] Buadaeng, Kwanchawan. (2004). Karen Tribe and Changes in Their Way of Lives. Chiang Mai: Social Research Publication.

[16] Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I). (2008). Community Based Tourism. Retrieved April 27, 2009, from http://www.cbt-i.org/community_develop.php?id=11.

[17] Cohen, E. (1989). Primitive and Remote, Hill Tribe Trekking in Thailand. Annals of Tourism Research. 16(1), 30-61.

[18] Cohen, E. (2000). The Commercialization of the Arts and Crafts of Thailand. London: Curzon Press.

[19] Cummings, J. (2005). Thailand. London: Routledge.

[20] Eversole, R, McNeish, J., & Cimadamore, A. (2005). Indigenous Peoples and Poverty: An International Perspective. London: Zed Books.

[21] Evrard, O. & Leepreecha, Prasit. (2009). Monks, monarchs and mountain folks. Critique of Anthropology, 29(Suppl. 3), 300-323.

[22] Field, A. (2006). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. London: Sage Publications.

[23] Fine, M. G., Johnson, F. L. & Ryan, M. S. (1990). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace. Public Personal Management, 19, 305-319.

[24] Granrose, C. S. & Oskamp, S. (1997). Cross-cultural Work Groups: Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology. London: Sage Publications.

[25] Haakonssen, K. (2006). The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[26] Hall, C. M. (1994). Gender and Economic Interests in Tourism Prostitution. In Kinnaird, V. & Hall, D. (Eds.). Tourism: A Gender Analysis. Chichester: Wiley.

[27] Hall, G. & Patrinos, H. A. (2006). Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America. London: Palgrave.

[28] Husband, W. (1989). Social Status and Perception of Tourism in Zambia. Annals of Tourism Research, 16(Suppl. 2), 237-253.

[29] Jurowski, C., Uysal, M., & Williams, D. R. (1997). A Theoretical Analysis of Host Community Resident Reactions to Tourism. Journal of Travel Research, 36 (Suppl. 2), 3-11.

[30] Klein, K. (2007). Fundraising for Social Change. 5th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[31] Lankford, S. (1994). Attitudes and Perceptions toward Tourism and Rural Regional Development. Journal of Travel Research, 32(Suppl. 2), 35-43.

[32] Lawson, R. W., Williams, J., Young, T. & Cossens, J. (1998). A Comparison of Residents’ Attitudes towards Tourism in 10 New Zealand Destinations. Tourism Management, 19, 247–256.

[33] Madrigal, R. (1993). A Tale of Tourism in Two Cities. Annals of Tourism Research, 20(Suppl. 2), 336-353.

[34] Mason, C. (2014). A Short History of Asia. 3rd ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

[35] McKinnon, J. (2003). Community Culture. In Delang, C. (Ed). Living at the Edge of Thai society: the Karen in the Highlands of Northern Thailand. London and New York: Routledge.

[36] Merleau-Ponty, M. (2002). Phenomenology of Perception. Translated from the French by Colin Smith. London: Routledge.

[37] Murphy, P. E. (1983). Perceptions and Attitudes of Decision Making Groups in Tourism Centers. Journal of Travel Research, 21, 8-12

[38] Nadel, F. S. (1995). The Nuba: An Anthropological Study of the Hill Tribes in Kordofan, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 13(Suppl. 2), 523-524.

[39] Nash, D. (1989). Tourism as a Form of Imperialism. In Smith, V. L. (Ed.), Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

[40] Pallant, J. (2001). SPSS Survival Manual. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

[41] Parry, B. (2007). Tribe: Adventures in a Changing World. London: Michael Joseph.

[42] Peacock, J., & Kerry, S. M. (2007). Presenting Medical Statistics from Proposal to Publication: A Step by Step Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[43] Perdue, R. R., Long, P. T., & Allen, L. R. (1987). Rural Resident Tourism Perceptions and Attitudes. Annals of Tourism Research, 14(Suppl. 3), 420-429.

[44] Pizam, A. (1978). Tourism Impacts: The Social Costs to the Destination Community as Perceived by Its Residents. Journal of Travel Research, 16(Suppl. 4), 8-12.

[45] Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2004). Nursing Research: Principles and Methods. 7th ed. Lippincott: Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

[46] Rajani, B. (2002). Hill Tribe Communities. Chiang Mai: Amarin Printing and Publication.

[47] Reisinger, Y., & Turner, W. L. (2003). Cross-cultural Behaviour in Tourism: Concepts and Analysis. Oxford: Bitterworth-Heinemann.

[48] Royal Project Foundation. (2003). Tourism Development Project in the Areas of Royal Project (Khrongkan Pattana Laeng Thongthiaw Nai Pheunthi Khrongkanluang). Chiang Mai: Royal Project Foundation. (in Thai)

[49] Rungapadiachy, D. (1999). Interpersonal Communication and Psychology for Health Care Professionals: Theory and Practice. London: Elsevier.

[50] Ryan, C., & Montgomery, D. (1994). The Attitudes of Bakewell Residents to Tourism and Issues in Community Responsive Tourism. Tourism Management, 15(Suppl. 5), 358–369.

[51] Samovar, L. A., & Porter, R. E. (1991). Intercultural Communication: A Reader. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

[52] Schiffman, L., & Kanuk, L. (1987). Consumer Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

[53] Shoham, V., Rohrbaugh, M. J., Trost, S. E., & Muramoto, M. (2006). A Family Consultation Intervention for Health-Compromised Smokers. National Institutes of Health, 31(Suppl. 4), 395-402.

[54] Smith, A. (2002). The Problem of Perception. America: President and Fellows of Harvard College.

[55] Social Development Center. (2008). Hilltribe. Retrieved April 27, 2009, from http://www.mhsdc.org/interest1.htm

[56] Sooparb, Supatra. (1993). Thai Society and Culture. Bangkok: Wattanapanish.

[57] Sutton, W. A. (1967). Travel and Understanding: Notes on the Social Structure of Touring. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 8(Suppl. 2), 218-223.

[58] Tajfel, H. (1978). Differentiation between Social Groups. London: Academic.

[59] Thailand Development Research Institute. (1997). Compilation of knowledge about Doi Inthanon National Park. (pp. 67-77). Bangkok: TDRI.

[60] Thomason, P. S., Crompton, J. L., & Kamp, B. D. (1979). A Study of the Attitudes of Impacted Groups within a Host Community toward Prolonged Stay Tourist Visitors. Journal of Travel Research, 17(Suppl. 3), 2–6.

[61] Toyata, M. (2005). Subjects of the Nations without Citizenships: The Case of Hill Tribes in Thailand. In Will Kymlicka and Baogang He eds. Multiculturalism in Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[62] Tung, R. L. (1993). Managing Cross-national and International Diversity. Human Resource Management, 32, 461-477.

[63] Turner, J. C. (1981). The Experimental Social Psychology of Intergroup Behaviour. In: Turner, J. C. & Giles, H. (Eds.). Intergroup Behaviour. Blackwell: Oxford.

[64] Tyrrell, T., & Spaulding, I. A. (1984). A Survey of Attitudes toward Tourism Growth in Rhode Island. Hospitality Education and Research Journal, 8(Suppl. 2), 22–33.

[65] Vergunst, P. (2008). Whose Socialisation? Exploring the Social Interaction between Migrants and Communities-of-place in Rural Areas. Population, Space and Place, 15(Suppl. 3), 253-266.

[66] Wall, G. (1996). Perspectives on Tourism in Selected Balinese Villages. Annals of Tourism research, 23(Suppl. 1), 123-127.

[67] Wijeyewardene, G. (1990). Ethnic Groups across National Boundaries in Mainland Southeast Asia. Bangkok: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

[68] Wilson, S., Fesenmaier, D., Fesenmaier, J., & Van Es, J. (2001). Factors for Success in Rural Tourism Development. Journal of Travel Research, 40, 132–138.

[69] Xu, F., Morgan, M., & Song, P. (2009). Students’ Travel Behaviour: A Cross-cultural Comparison of UK and China. International Journal of Tourism Research, 11(Suppl. 3), 255-268.