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Tourist killing in Thailand spotlights safety issues & growing concerns

Excerpt from IB Times

Jan 02, 2013 2:53 pm

Skift Take

With competition from neighboring Myanmar and Vietnam rising, Thailand unbridled and unchecked tourism is creating societal problems it will have to deal with.

— Rafat Ali

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Tuesday’s tourist killing raised fresh concerns over the safety of tourists in Koh Phangan, where an influx of visitors has been a double-edged sword for locals…Even the official Koh Phangan tourist website claims “violence is frequent.”

Thailand has the highest gun ownership rate in all of Asia with 15.6 guns per 100 people. That figure puts it well ahead of Pakistan, the next closest nation in the region with 11.6 guns per 100 residents.

With Myanmar opening up and tourism to Vietnam soaring, Thailand faces more regional competition than ever. If the headline-making deaths continue in the coming year, visitors may begin to look elsewhere for the peace and tranquility that was once the hallmark of a trip to “The Land of Smiles.”

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