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Dinosaurs in Thai Culture and Tourism

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Dinosaurs are extinct, but enjoy a great popularity in contemporary popular culture, as fierce monsters or amiable “dinos.” Various dinosaur sites around the world are popular tourist attractions. While tourists' engagement with living animals has attracted growing attention in tourism studies, “dinosaur tourism” has been little investigated. The article points out the peculiarities of tourist engagement with an extinct species, particularly with regard to the (objective) authenticity of various dinosaur attractions. In a case study of the emergence and development of dinosaur tourism in Thailand, the penetration of the dinosaur culture into the country, the discovery of dinosaur fossils, and the establishment of different types of dinosaur attractions, specifically excavation sites, museums, and theme parks, are discussed. The article focuses on the most popular type of attractions, the dinosaur museums, in which “authentic reproductions” of dinosaurs are exhibited. The museums have been at first established by the national authorities in the vicinity of major dinosaur finds in the Northeast of the country, in an effort to develop tourism to the region. The provinces harboring the principal dinosaur finds, and the Northeast (Isan) region as a whole, were branded Thailand's “Land of Dinosaurs.” The museums became popular with domestic visitors, but failed to attract significant numbers of foreign ones, owing to their relative remoteness and isolation. A recent trend is noted to establish new, more centrally located dinosaur museums, away from the dinosaur excavations, but closer to major population concentrations.
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Keywords: DINOSAURS; THAI CULTURE; THAILAND; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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