CHIANG RAI, 21 December 2018: When I saw the headline’s reference to ‘Thailand the World’s first “Egg Capital,’ I thought for a second a new hub was on the horizon for Thailand’s travel industry to take on-board.
Well, we all know Thailand is home to a tycoon who made a fortune out of chicken eggs, but sunny side up fried eggs is not my idea of a viable tourism hub.
Then I realised the latest hub is about providing “social egg freezing” at an AI-powered high-tech IVF clinic franchise “XY.life” due to make its debut in Bangkok that intends to “democratise women in fertility management.”
I think they are getting carried away with the hub concept. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to ban the use of the word ‘hub’ in tourism in 2019 along with collaboration, curate, strategic and sustainable?
The promoters claim “Thailand, as a major medical tourism hub, will be positioned as a global player in comprehensive fertility management, which is in line with the objective of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to enhance premium and niche tourism next year.”
Borderless Healthcare Group expansion and Thailand the “Egg Capital” of the world aside, a review of all the hubs in Thai tourism is overdue. Too many hubs and not enough spokes make for very wobbly ride.
We already have golf, medical, educational, cruise, meetings, logistics, global shapers, aviation, cybersecurity, yachting and IT hubs so no surprises the Land of Smiles is about become a fertility egg hub as well.
Personally, I am still wondering how the food hub is progressing. Michelin stars are heading for Phuket and before long they will visit Chiang Mai dropping a star here and there at food carts and posh five-star restaurants keen to raise the menu prices.
Does it really make a difference to where we dine, or which food cart we head for in night bazaar or walking street?
Downsides of cruising
There are conflicting reports surfacing on cruising. One report last week claimed 2019 would be a year when environment-friendly cruise ships would grace the oceans. I thought we might see a couple of LNG powered cruise ships leave port in 2019, but nothing that would turn the cruise industry into a green power for global good. That is still some distance off. Unfortunately for Asia cruise companies can off-load their older ‘dirty ships’ on the region due to the lack of legislation supporting cleaner fuel rules for shipping.
Then there was a report last week that suggested coastal cities around the world are blaming cruises for overtourism.
Apparently, mega ships offload 3,000 tourists at a port town to run rampant in the streets buying up all the groceries and branded clothing leaving the locals richer, but culturally exhausted.
The backlash is some ports are banning mega cruise ships entirely. Blaming cruise lines for overtourism is still limited to cities in North America and Europe, but I suppose as more cruises ply the route between Singapore and Hong Kong it won’t be too long before someone points a finger at cruise passengers for causing traffic jams in Pattaya or Ho Chi Minh City.
In 2019, perhaps we can all embrace under-tourism where we take a holiday jogging, walking and perhaps cycling for days on end and getting absolutely nowhere fast. Predictably the phrase “slow tourism’ is not trending anymore. Fell by the wayside perhaps due to the boring side of going nowhere and doing nothing.
Holidays are here so we are packing suitcases and heading out for a festive season break.
The team at TTR Weekly wishes you all a very joyous festive season and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We will be back with our daily news alerts, Monday 7 January.