Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

2 Nov, 2016

Unmatched Visionary Coverage of “Sufficiency Economy” in Travel & Tourism

Bangkok – I am proud to have been crusading since 2000 for the Thai, ASEAN and Asia-Pacific travel & tourism industry to pay more serious attention to the concept of the “Sufficiency Economy”. Regrettably, the industry has shown little interest. The subject is not as “sexy” as the latest social media gadgetry or disruption phenomena, and does not generate any immediate gratification or revenue. Today, the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej has led to an outpouring of interest, with record hits on my website, especially my exclusive listing of the Royal Projects.

This dispatch includes a more complete listing of my many dispatches over the years citing the “Sufficiency Economy”. They include my own commentaries as well as reports on the speeches by illustrious Thai personalities such as Anand Panyarachun, Supachai Panitchpakdi, Surin Pitsuwan, the Venerable Dr. Anilman Dhammasākiyō Phra Shakyavongsvisuddhi, and M.L. Disnadda Diskul, Secretary-General of Thailand’s Mae Fah Luang Foundation.

Altogether, they comprise a body of research and background that no other travel & tourism publication or academic institution can match. Hopefully, the Thai, ASEAN and Asia-Pacific travel industry will start showing more respect for this unique concept of sustainable development and, more importantly, help it go mainstream globally.

16 Oct, 2016

To Honour King Bhumibhol, Time is Ripe for a “Sufficiency Economy Tourism Year”

Bangkok – The Thai government’s official communications unit, the Public Relations Department, has uploaded an e-book containing a comprehensive history of the Sufficiency Economy, the insightful development philosophy espoused by the late monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. Anyone reading through “Harmony with Nature: The Royal Wisdom of King Bhumihol,” will be overwhelmed by its […]


4 Mar, 2016

Thai King’s Sufficiency Economy Seen as an International Development Model

Bangkok, Thailand, 2 March 2016, (Thailand PRD News) -Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that Thailand has adopted His Majesty the King’s Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy as a guideline for development, with the people at the center, for more than 40 years. The Prime Minister highlighted Thailand’s experience in practicing the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, […] more…

5 Jan, 2016

Thailand’s Buri Ram Province to use King’s Sufficiency Economy as Future Development Model

Bangkok, 4 January 2016, Thai government Public Relations Department – Buri Ram province, in lower northeastern Thailand, aims to develop itself as one of the most livable cities in the world, based on the concept of “Sufficiency Economy.” Buri Ram Governor Seri Srihatrai said that the issue was discussed at a workshop of local administrators […] more…

19 Sep, 2015

Thailand’s ‘Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy’ highlighted at AIT

Bangkok – The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, formulated by Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was highlighted at a mobile exhibition held at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Pathumthani province, from 26 August to 2 September 2015. Organized by Thailand’s Public Relations Department (PRD), in cooperation with AIT and the Royal Development Projects Board, the exhibition […] more…

16 Jul, 2015

Ex-ASEAN Secretary-General urges U.N. to adopt King Bhumibhol’s “Sufficiency Economy” as development model

Geneva/Paris July 2015 (TSDF media release): – Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, President of Future Innovative Thailand Institute (FIT), and a former ASEAN Secretary-General and Foreign Minister of Thailand, recently addressed audiences at UNCTAD Geneva and UNESCO Paris highlighting His Majesty King Bhumibhol’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) amidst Globalization and application of this Philosophy in Cultures and […] more…

22 Jan, 2015

Thai public sector urged to follow King’s “Sufficiency Economy” concept in budgets

Bangkok, Prime Minister’s secretariat, January 21, 2015 — Today, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, presided over an opening ceremony of a meeting to hand down policy on annual budgeting FY2016 to heads of government offices and state enterprises, as well as concerned agencies in order for all government offices to be on the same page […] more…

14 Oct, 2014

Thailand to push for practical sufficiency economy in rural development

BANGKOK, 12 Ict 2014, (NNT) – The Thai Government is preparing to initially implement His Majesty the King’s sufficiency economy philosophy in 18,000 villages nationwide, as part of its plan to develop the livelihood of the citizens. According to Prime Minister’s Office Deputy Spokesperson Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will today meet […] more…

4 Oct, 2013

Thai King’s ‘Sufficiency Economy’ theory goes global – The Nation

It has taken a long time for people at home and abroad to understand and appreciate His Majesty The King’s “Sufficiency Economy” theory. The term in English is oblique; in Thai, as in “Por Pieng” literally translated as “Just enough”, it is misleading. “Just enough” for whom? Is it anti-capitalist, anti-wealth, anti-progress or and anti-modernity? […]


7 Mar, 2012

Replacing the Devastation of Greed-is-Good with Wisdom of Sufficiency Economy

Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD

“Sufficiency Economy and the Direction of Sustainable Development” Speech delivered at the opening of the International Conference on the Sufficiency Economy, Bangkok, Thailand, 16 February 2012.


26 Jun, 2006

Thai Industry Executives Comment on Applying “Sufficiency Economy” in Tourism

The Royal events commemorating His Majesty the King’s 60th anniversary celebrations gained Thailand a slew of positive global publicity and also generated some thinking about the applicability of the royal “sufficiency economy” theories to travel & tourism. Eight senior industry executives, all Thais, responded to a survey seeking comment on the recent celebrations and their […]


25 Mar, 2016

“Thainess” at the Crossroads — Ex-Prime Minister Flags the Real Issues Facing Thailand

By Anand Panyarachun

Following is the full text of a speech entitled “In Search of Thailand’s New Normal”, delivered by two-time former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on 23 March 2016. It should be must reading for all those seeking to better understand the dynamics of change facing one of the […]


4 Oct, 2015

At Awards Ceremony, Thai Tourism SMEs Get Crash Course in Creative Marketing

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand prefaced its biannual Tourism Awards ceremony on 27 September 2015 by inviting about 150 small and medium sized enterprises for a crash course on enhancing their marketing and branding skills. Owners, operators and senior management executives of the emerging generation of Thai tourism products and services nationwide attended […]


24 Aug, 2015

Thailand Leads World with Policy to Advance Good Health via Religious Practices

Bangkok 16 August 2015, (Public Relations Department) — The Ministry of Public Health is pushing for a national policy to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging people to focus on their religious practices, along with medical treatment, exercise, and healthy diet. The national policy, to be implemented from 2016 to 2020, was raised for discussion […] more…

24 Mar, 2015

Thai Tourism Minister listens carefully as PATA finds its “Voice”

Bangkok — The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has long claimed to be the “voice” of the tourism industry in the world’s most populous and dynamic region. Over the last few years, failing to walk that talk has been a major contributor to its decline. Now, that is changing. On 19 March, the PATA Thailand […]


20 Mar, 2015

Buddhist monk shames branding gurus: “Are you really contributing to sustainability?”

Bangkok, March 28, 2015 – Thailand’s leading branding gurus got more than they bargained for at a conference on sustainability when the keynote speaker, a prominent Buddhist monk, ripped into the human frailties of greed, pride, egotism and conceit, all of which he said help meet corporate goals but are totally opposite to core Buddhist […]


16 Feb, 2015

Superficial to spiritual: Buddhist monk to keynote at brand-building conference in Bangkok

Bangkok – Possibly for the first time in Asia, a Buddhist monk is to deliver the keynote speech at an upcoming conference on building brands. The Venerable Dr. Anilman Dhammasākiyō Phra Shakyavongsvisuddhi will officiate at the opening of the ‘Sustainable Brands ’15 Bangkok’ to be held March 18-19 on the innovative theme, “Reimagine, Redesign, Rebirth.” […]


8 Jan, 2015

How Thai tourism has failed a great King

Bangkok – As the Thai travel and tourism industry nears the end of an era, some heavy-duty soul-searching is overdue about its future in the new era. There is clear evidence that it has failed to comprehensively heed the 44-year-old guidance of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, and will have no choice except to place […]


4 Jun, 2014

11 Ways to Reboot and Reform Thai Tourism

Bangkok – The Thailand Travel Mart+ which opens today comes in the midst of a wider national transition which has seen the Thai tourism industry, the largest service industry, hit by its worst crises in decades. The upheaval is no act-of-God, but an entirely self-inflicted political catastrophe which disproves the current tourism slogan: “Amazing Thailand: […]


22 Feb, 2014

Bhutanese Prince to Thailand: Some Gross National Happiness May Help

BANGKOK – Bhutan’s Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck has indicated his support for a suggestion that Thailand may find it useful to apply the principles of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) national development philosophy as a way out of its present political impasse. The Prince was addressing a media gathering at an event marking the 25th […]


4 Jun, 2013

Tourism Academics Grapple With Need to Upgrade Their Own Innovation, Relevance

A Travel Impact Newswire exclusive

BANGKOK – When delegates turned up for a conference of tourism academics in Bangkok between 25-28 May, they were handed paper-bags as delegate kits. That’s true, literally speaking. Three students of conference organiser Siam University, and one lecturer, took hundreds of old newspapers and magazines from the University library and a local coffee chain and […]


12 Jan, 2013

Asian Century Rising: At First Gandhi Lecture in Bangkok, Indian Activist Promotes “Soil Not Oil”

Bangkok (14 December 2012) – India’s highly-decorated social and environmental activist Dr Vandana Shiva inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi lecture series in Thailand on 14 December 2012 with a call for a Gandhian satyagraha against attempts by global agricultural and pharmaceutical corporations to control the global food and medicine chain. Warning that agricultural dependency on pesticides, […] more…

16 Nov, 2012

Memo to President Obama in Asia: You Won the Nobel Peace Prize, Now Earn it

Welcome to Asia and Thailand, my adopted country. It is apt that you should begin your second term in office by coming first to three Buddhist-majority countries, all of which will play a major role in the future of the Asian Century. Your primary agenda, to promote the interests of the American people, may be […]


19 Jun, 2012

Thai Royal Projects Chief: Global Rich-Poor Income Gap Could Trigger Next World War

CHIANG RAI, North Thailand: In a powerful, historic speech at the Mekong Tourism Forum on June 13, a man who has played a key role in one of the world’s most successful opium-eradication projects warned of another world war if the global rich-poor income gap is not addressed. Mr. Disnadda Diskul, Secretary-General of Thailand’s Mae […]


15 May, 2012

Thai King’s Reforestation Project Wows UNWTO Delegates

CHIANG MAI – The sufficiency economy concept of Thailand’s King Bhumibhol Adulyadej gained further prominence on the global tourism development agenda last week with a visit to the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Centre being included on the technical-tour programme of a regional UN World Tourism Organisation conference. The May 4 visit was an eye-opening […]


30 Jan, 2012

Former Thai Tourism Chief Says Industry Has “Lost Focus,” Needs New Roadmap

(First in a multi-part series of dispatches on the Thai tourism industry 25 years after Visit Thailand Year) BANGKOK: 25 years after the historic 1987 Visit Thailand Year, a number of industry veterans are voicing concern about the state of the industry and its future directions. With the number of arrivals  skyrocketing, and future growth […]


5 Jan, 2012

25 Years After “1987 Visit Thailand Year”, New Tourism Era Set to Dawn?

BANGKOK – Recent announcements by the Thai travel & tourism industry indicate that a long-overdue mindset-change is under way in the future approach to development and sustainability. After spending 25 years since 1987 Visit Thailand Year (VTY) doing heavy-duty marketing, the Thai tourism industry is poised to enter a new era by rebalancing its management […]


11 Dec, 2011

Thais paying the price of hearing but not heeding the King’s words

Everything, they say in Thailand, is destiny. It was perhaps destiny that Thailand marked two major events on Dec 5 – the start of clean-up campaigns after one of the worst natural disasters in Thai history and the auspicious 84th birthday of His Majesty the King, the world’s longest reigning […]


31 Oct, 2011

After The Floods: Will Thai Tourism Now Ponder the “Karma” Factor?

The devastating floods is the latest in a series of almost back-to-back crises that have struck the Thai travel & tourism industry over the last 10 years. As a Buddhist country, Thailand knows all too well the deeper meaning of cause-and-effect. Is it time for travel & tourism to indulge in some self-introspection and identify the root causes of this ceaseless suffering?


10 Sep, 2011

Imtiaz Muqbil’s TEDx Talk: How the World Can Attain “Peace Through Tourism”

Sawasdee khrap, Namaskar, Sat Sri Kal and Salaamualaikum Thank you for inviting me here today. The TEDx theme requires speakers to present ideas worth spreading. So in the interests of meeting my 18 minute time limit, let me just get stuck into it. My topic today is “Peace Through Tourism”. In my website introduction to […] more…

3 Jul, 2011

Day of Reckoning for Thai Tourism

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has just completed a week-long marketing planning meeting with a forecast for 19.5 million arrivals in 2012. Whether it meets those targets will depend not on the planning but what happens on national election day, July 3,


13 Mar, 2011

Thailand’s Unique Royal Projects

His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and members of Thailand’s Royal Family have set up numerous village-based community development projects nationwide which are now open for small-scale tourism. They provide unique insights into the King’s concept of a sufficiency economy and are models of alternative economic development. First published in March 2011, this listing was compiled […]


6 Dec, 2009

Cracking the culture of impunity and Asia’s culture of complacency and subservience

When Dr Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), briefed the media on year-end state-of-the-region report on Nov 30, he said that many Asia-Pacific countries will have to indulge in some serious soul-searching about their future growth and development policies. […]


10 May, 2009

UNESCAP fumbles opportunity to chart an alternative development paradigm

The 65th ministerial session of the UN Economic & Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) last month came at a historical juncture for the world economy and indeed Asia at large. It ended, like most UN meetings, with a lot of rhetorical fire and brimstone in the talk-shop […]


1 Mar, 2009

Surin Pitsuwan to Civil Society: “Hold ASEAN to Account”

The age of accountability in ASEAN took a quantum leap forward over the last week with ASEAN civil society organisations serving notice to ASEAN political and business leaders that they can expect vigorous scrutiny of how they implement the lofty principles and commitments. The bitterness, frustration and anger was more […]


5 May, 2008

PATA’S CEO Challenge: A Look Behind The Hype

Although the first PATA CEO Challenge organised in Bangkok between April 29-30 led to an outpouring of ideas and initiatives on the issue of climate change, it failed to deliver on many of its other promised goals.


18 Feb, 2008

New Thai Tourism Minister, But Same Policies

Like with many other aspects of the new government’s thought-process, clear signs are emerging of the tourism policy reflecting the same old directions of the former Thaksin administration –- couched somewhat in terms of language and priority, but largely the same. In his public and official statements, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Khowsurat is stressing […]


25 Jul, 2007

Next Big Thing: The “Happiness Business”

Bangkok – Is the phrase “travel & tourism industry” now outdated? If a rebranding is long overdue, how about the “happiness business”? Becoming arguably the first travel trade editor to cover a conference on promoting happiness organised at the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok last week, I was struck by the extent to which the […]


22 Jul, 2007

Study of “Happiness” is Becoming both a Science and a Business

The very simple exercise of pursuing public happiness as a national development objective is moving rapidly from the leftist lunatic fringe into the sphere of mainstream thinking. Although there is general agreement that the concept is valid and well worth being elevated to the level of public policy, it is […]


4 Mar, 2007

The world is not flat, and never will be!

The shocks that reverberated through the global stock markets last week yielded yet another example of the 21st century economic pandemics that can spread faster than bird flu, and the threats of the aptly-named “problems without passports” in an age of globalisation. Globalisation, and its economic first-cousins liberalisation, privatisation and […] more…

24 Dec, 2006

Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus asks: Is it globalisation, or financial imperialism?

In the light of global geopolitical developments of the past year, and economic developments in Thailand in the past week, the words of two Nobel prize winners in the past month will prove extremely insightful in pondering what awaits us all in the year ahead. On December 10, Muhammad Yunus, […]


1 Oct, 2006

Time to redefine the buzzwords that drive “wealth creation”

Of the many buzzwords that drive economic and corporate growth these days, three stand out: “development,” “progress” and “success.” All of these are rooted in the assumption that they must be measured in terms of monetary advancement – also known as “wealth creation.” But as deep misgivings begin to set […]


17 Sep, 2006

Flashback: How did we EVER get hoodwinked into these mindless wars?

While the world was looking back five years at the 9/11 memorial, I was looking ahead five years in earnest hope that we will then be able to look back 10 years and wonder how we could have been hoodwinked into these mindless wars and conflict by some of the […]


12 Jun, 2006

Need to “Institutionalise” Sufficiency Tourism Concept

One of the biggest legacies that the Thai tourism industry could bequeath to His Majesty the King is to re-engineer and restructure it along the lines of the sufficiency economy. For want of a better phrase, let’s call it ‘sufficiency tourism.’ This concept is not new. A number of Thai tourism academics and industry officials […]


25 Dec, 2005

Over the festive season, ponder the difference between water and oil

My previous column ended by volunteering a forecast on what will happen next on the global stage. So, here goes. Economic law says that whenever a commodity faces a shortage, its price goes up. Look around and see what’s in short supply these days – and try looking beyond mere […]


2 Oct, 2005

Tracking Global Feng Shui: Move the UN HQ from New York to Bangkok

The Thaksin government is pursuing the goal (dream?) of having Deputy Prime Minister Surakiat Sathirathai appointed U.N. Secretary General after the end of Kofi Annan’s term in January 2007. Here’s a much better idea: Back the call made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the 60th General Assembly session to […] more…

20 Feb, 2000

UNCTAD Conference Shines Light on Alternative Paradigms

Last week’s UNCTAD conference was dominated by discussion of the machinations and manipulation of global players in pursuit of power and riches — and the consequences thereof. Certain global players already have both power and riches. Others are in pursuit of it. The domination of the weak by the strong […]