The Tsunami Waves and the Paradisiac Cycle: The Changing Image of the Andaman Coastal Region of Thailand

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Abstract:

A linear temporal model has been underlying the pretsunami image of the tourist region along the Thai coast of the Andaman Sea, according to which a “pristine tourist paradise” turns, under the onslaught of tourism, irredeemably into “paradise lost.” The region suffered catastrophic destruction in the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. The article explores the unexpected reemergence of a paradisiac image of the beaches and islands of the region, as nature recovered, unhindered by tourists, from the impact of the disaster. Departing from Hoffman's assertion that a cyclical model underlies disaster symbolism, this article claims, that in the wake of the tsunami, the linear model of the tourist image of the region was replaced by an underlying cyclical model, consisting of a series of stages: the discovery of a “prisine paradise,” its despoliation, destruction, rebirth, regulation, and eventual redespoliation (and possible repeated destruction and rediscovery). While this model represents schematically the dynamics of the tourist image of the affected region, its wider applicability remains to be examined.

Keywords: ANDAMAN SEA; BEACHES DISASTER; PARADISE; TOURISTIC IMAGE; TSUNAMI

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/108354208786094898

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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