The controversy over Indonesia hosting the Miss World beauty pageant is something Thailand can’t relate to. At least this is what Thanitta Savetsila Maneechote, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, had to say when she took the time to speak to eTN in Seoul, South Korea, during the recently concluded Asia Summit by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
“Miss World in Bali is good,” the Thai government official said. “But, if it’s something that is against the Muslim belief, maybe you can adjust the way of the contest.”
She added: “For us, being Buddhists, we have no such problems for such international contests, in all genders, because we are an open society.”
True enough, Thailand’s tolerance on this matter is in the history books. An annual beauty pageants of transgendered women is considered a major event. So much so that the contest itself is nationally televised and it attracts participants from various parts of the world. Philippines’ bet, Kevin Balot, was crowned Miss International Queen 2012 in Thailand’s seaside resort Pattaya on November 2, besting 21 other candidates from 15 countries. Balot received a grand prize of $10,000 and a crown from a well-known gem store in Thailand.
Being a country that is tolerant without compromising its cultural and religious integrity certainly has its perks. “The number of inbound tourists to Thailand is on the rise, averaging 20 percent higher than expected numbers,” Mrs. Maneechote. “As of April, Thailand has seen 17.4 million tourists go through its p. We have a plan to gain 2.2 trillion baht (US$70 billion) by 2015 as income from tourists.”
However, she was quick to note that Thai people because they take shorter vacations, domestic tourism is also yielding to positive revenue for Thai tourism. “They are staying domestically and spending a little more.”
“The weather can be hot for inbound tourists,” so, according to her, Thai tourism is keen on developing a system that allows tourists to experience the surrounding countries, such as Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia or Indonesia. “We can do in package. Three countries in one trip or something like that. We have much to offer, culturally, seas and sands, and we have good food. Approximately more than 50 percent of our visitors come for good food.”
Mrs. Maneechote also said Thailand is prime destinations for adventures tourism, religious tourism–how to practice meditation in Thailand, and sport tourism.
The Miss World competition is currently being held in Bali, Indonesia, and is scheduled to crown this year’s winner on September 28, 2013.
As mentioned above, Thailand recently hosted a beauty pageant of transgendered woman called Miss International. The contest was televised nationally in Thailand and is now available for viewing on YouTube. Watch the contest for yourself via the video below: