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Title: The Changing of Local Community by Domestic Tourism: A Case Study of Amphawa

Floating Market, Samutsongkram, Thailand

Author: Ms. Noppamast Sae-Tang

Mailing address: 166-172, Mahaesak Road, Soi 2, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Telephone: (Thailand) +66 2 235 1236, (New Zealand) +64 22 677 8581

Fax: (Thailand) +66 2 236 7978

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The Changing of Local Community by Domestic Tourism: A Case Study of Amphawa

Floating Market, Samutsongkram, Thailand

This paper will discuss a theory of Butler, a concept of Hypothetical Evolution of a Tourist

Area. The theory has been applied to tourist destinations and mainly discusses about the tourist

area life cycle. In many cases, the theory shows a direction of growth and development in the

destinations in which tourism stakeholders can use it to analyze and plan for tourism

management. This paper will focus on tourism at the Amphawa floating market, in

Samutsongkram province, Thailand. During these years, the Thai government has promoted

domestic tourism and as a result the market was introduced to Thai people. Consequently, the

market has been one of the most popular destinations for domestic tourism. As a result, it leads

to many changes at the market and the community, it impacts, economic, socio-cultural and

physical aspects of the community. All these impacts and the changes have been implied in the

Bulter’s theory and come up with a consequence of tourism direction.

Key words: Amphawa floating market (AFM); Butler; Community; Domestic tourism; Local

people; Visitor

Since domestic tourism in Thailand has grown, new destinations in Thailand have been

introduced. The domestic Thai travelers find places for visiting. They have different reasons

for travelling. In general, some domestic destinations have been exploited due to domestic

visitors. Mostly, when people talk about tourism impacts, they tend to think of impacts from

international tourists. Murphy (1985) argued that “domestic travel also brings people of

different backgrounds and lifestyle to the destination, for example, city people visit a rural area.

They can lead to conflict concerning land use and economic in the destination as international

tourists”. Besides, each tourist destination has a life cycle which it starts with beginning stage

of tourism. Later, when the destination enters with tourism development, many visitors come

to the place. Then the destination is exploited and changed due to lack of tourism plan and

management as suggested by Butler (2006). The purpose of this article is to investigate how

domestic travelers can impact and make a change in a tourist destination. Besides, Butler’s

concept of hypothetical evolution of a tourist area is being used in the context to illustrate on a

specific destination in Thailand.

This article starts to describe Butler’s concept of hypothetical evolution of a tourist

area. The next section of the article describes the development of domestic tourism in Thailand

with factors that make Thai people travel domestically. Next, a case study of the Amphawa

floating market (AFM) is introduced, and show why this place has become popular among

domestic visitors. In the case study includes discussion about visitor background and visitor’s

opinions toward the AFM as well as opinions of local people toward the visitors. The next part

is followed by discussion of tourism impacts which lead to the changes of the community.

Lastly, the article discusses the AFM in Butler’s concept whether the tourism at the AFM is

applicable. In short, it is argued that tourism at the AFM is applicable in Butler’s concept;

however, this theory provides further destination analysis.

Reviewing Butler’s Concept of Hypothetical Evolution of a Tourist Area Life Cycle

Butler’s concept describes a tourist area life cycle with relationship between number of

tourists and destination that change over time (Butler, 2006). During the time, many tourism

activities, such as tourist facilities and infrastructure, service providers, and touring, occur

which cause the changes at the destination. However, many authors have applied tourist

destinations in Butler’s concept. Some destinations follow Butler’s concept but some

destinations follow on different directions.

Butler (2006) firstly states that at the beginning of a tourist destination, there are not

many tourists who know the destination because of lack of information and knowledge about

the place, lack of accessibility and facilities. So most people who visit the place during this

time tend to explore about the destination and have an interest to know, learn, and experience

the place. Therefore, this stage is the exploration stage (Figure 1). Once local people find that

tourism activities bring benefits to them, they begin to participate in tourism activities such as

opening a shop or a resort or providing services to tourists. At this point, Butler (2006) states

that tourism at the destination is at the involvement stage (Figure 1). Later, the destination is

introduced for tourism by marketing and advertising. As a result, more visitors and tourists

visit the destination, and more local residents participate in tourism businesses, more visitor

facilities and infrastructure are created (Butler, 2006). At this stage, Butler (2006) places the

destination at the development stage (Figure 1). Next, these activities continue, for instance,

advertisement of the destination continues, the number of visitors keeps increasing, and the

number of visitors is higher than the number of local residents. This is Butler’s consolidation

stage (Figure 1). Once, there is a peak number of visitors reach carrying capacity of the

destination; where is supply and demand meet or the demands of visitors is higher than the

ability of the destination, which includes environment, host and facilities, to accept or supply

the visitors and recreational use, and there are environmental or social problems occur at the
destination due to tourism activities (Butler, 2006; Murphy, 1985). At this stage, visitors

experience might be affected because tourism activities are imbalance with the destination’s

environment (ibid). Here, Butler (2006) places the destination at the stagnation stage (Figure

1). From this stage, Butler predicts five different directions for tourism to go, which depend on

the destination situation and the environment, and local management (Butler, 2006; Murphy,

1985). Butler (2006) proposes that the destination can move to the rejuvenation stage (Figure

1), which is a direction between A and B. It is a direction of tourism growth. Reasons for

tourism growth can be new infrastructure and attractions or more supply for visitors at the

destination. In addition, the destination may continue at the stagnation stage (Figure 1), which

is direction C (ibid). It means that tourism is maintaining which Butler suggests that it is a good

direction because it implies that the destination can be well managed, which is why visitors

continue to visit the destination (Butler, 2006; Glasson et al., 1995). In contrast, the tourism at

the destination may drop down to direction D or E which is the decline stage (Figure 1). It

implies that there is something wrong at the destination that causes the visitors not visiting the

destination, for instance, traffic congestion, pollution, environmental degradation, or

inhospitality of hosts (ibid).

In addition, Butler’s concept suggests that within a local community, there are local

residents who have both positive and negative attitudes toward tourism (Butler, 2006). In fact,

in terms of tourism, the community is heterogeneous. The local people who get benefits from

tourism tend to support tourism activities and welcome the visitors. On the other hand, for the

local people who do not get benefits from tourism and find that tourism causes problems. Then,

they tend to express opposition toward tourism and the visitors (Butler, 2006; Murphy, 1985).

Many authors have studied and applied tourist destinations with Butler’s concept. Many

cases have shown that different destinations go on different stages in Butler’s concept. For

instance, Bao and Zhang (as cited in Butler, 2006) had studied on Danxia Mountain, in
Guangdong province, China. This place is one of the scenic spots. It was first very popular

among Chinese tourists in the 1970s. Later, with high demands of tourists, it made tourism at

Danxia Mountain grew rapidly which made the destination experienced in the development

stage. Until in the 1990s, Bao and Zhang (as cited in Butler, 2006) said that a crowd of visitors

had reached the stagnation stage. Next, poor management of the destination caused the

environment of the mountain degraded, and created a negative image of the mountain which

caused a number of visitors declined. Here, it indicated the destination move to the decline

stage. Therefore, in order to rejuvenate tourism at Danxia Mountain. In 1993, the local

government hired tourism experts to solve this problem. Then, a new attraction, Yangyuan

scenic spot, was introduced. Consequently, in 1995, the number of tourists increased which

indicated the rejuvenation stage. From this case study, Bao and Zhang (as cited in Butler,

2006) claimed that Butler’s concept can be used for the tourism planning of an attraction. They

also suggested that once destinations come into the development stage quickly, they will soon

face stagnation and decline if there is lack of destination planning and management (ibid).

The Development of Domestic Tourism in Thailand

Since 1998, Thailand has faced with a global crisis which has affected the number of

international tourists (Annual Report, 2008). As a consequence, the Thai government has paid

more attention to the Thai market and found that domestic tourists were an important source of

economic generation (ibid). Consequently, a new destination was introduced to the Thai people

- Amphawa Floating Market (AFM). The attraction has become popular and many visitors visit

the place which has led to the changes in a community (Danpongsuwan, 2008;

Luekveerawattana, 2006).

UNWTO (1995) defines that “Domestic tourism comprises the activities of residents of

a given country or other area traveling to and staying in places inside that country or other area
but outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business

and other purposes”; and “A domestic traveler is any person residing in a country who travels

to a place within the country outside his or her usual environment for a period not exceeding

12 months and whose main purpose of visit is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated

from within the place visited”.

Evrard and Leepreecha (as cited in Winter, Teo, & Chang, 2009) argued that in the past,

the first travelers of Thailand were kings, elites, aristocracies, and administrators. The initial

purpose of their travel was for work and later it became travel for leisure. Later in 1921,

transportation, trains emerged and in the 1980s the airports were introduced, many hotels were

built, and bus trips were introduced. These developments allowed the Thai people to travel

domestically. However, the groups of travelers were Thai urban middle classes (ibid). Evrard

and Leepreecha (as cited in Winter, Teo, & Chang, 2009) claimed that at the end of 1980s,

there were approximately two million Thai domestic tourists traveling to Chiang Mai each

year; Chiang Mai is a northern province of Thailand. This number has remained up to present.

In addition, in 1997, Ghimire (2001, p.116) found that “domestic tourists in Thailand are likely

to travel within the country for the purpose of visiting relatives and friends. The survey from

626 domestic tourists showed that, in 1997, 29% of domestic visitors visit the north-east and

27% of them visit Bangkok”. A reason is that north-east people migrated to Bangkok for

employment, then they established in Bangkok; therefore, these migrants made trips to visit

their home town; from Bangkok to northeast as personal visitation. Besides, Thai domestic

tourists are also likely to travel within the country for business purposes (ibid).

In 1998, Thailand faced a global economic downturn; which pushed the Tourism

Authority of Thailand (TAT) to start the promotion of domestic tourism for Thai people

(Annual Report, 2008). Later, Thailand had faced several crises such as SARs in 2003,

domestic terrorism at the southern part of Thailand and Tsunami disaster in 2004, flu epidemic
in 2007 and 2009, and domestic political issues in 2008 and 2009 which caused a number of

international tourists dropped down. For example, the number of tourists decreased from 10.8

million tourists in 2002 to 10 million tourists in 2003 and 14.58 million tourists in 2008 to

14.15 million tourists in 2009 (ibid). Therefore, to counteract the loss of international tourists

and its revenue, TAT promoted domestic destinations to the Thai people by creating many

campaigns to persuade Thais to travel. For instance, a campaign of ‘Unseen Thailand’

promoted the most extraordinary parts of the country. A campaign of ‘Family Fun on One Day

Trip’ promoted in all regions nationwide using the major cities in each region as a hub for all

the promotional activities such as travelling by car to 14 provinces along 20 different routes

(TAT, 2004).

Moreover, an emergent of domestic low cost airlines; Air Asia and Nok Air, in 2004 is

one of factors that made Thai people travel more in domestic. According to Airports of

Thailand Public Company Limited (2010), it showed number of domestic passengers; which

had increased from 2.275 million passengers in 2004 to 9.018 million passengers in 2008. Also,

the airlines offer competitive price and budget promotion. For example, Air Asia offers “Zero

Baht” promotion; excludes tax and fuel charge, for early booking. Next, the development of e-

tourism, such as internet and mobile phones, allows people to make a quick decision to make

a trip as people use this source to find update information for their travel destinations as well

as make a hotel and flight reservation (Annual Report, 2008). Moreover, domestic political

issues led the Thai government to push domestic tourism as the number of international tourists

drop down and release stress for the Thai people; therefore, the government introduced an

income tax credit of up to 15,000 baht (USD 502) for Thais to purchase vacation packages and

hotel stays with association with tour operators and hotels to offer special price (eTurboNews,

2010). Lastly, at present, TAT governor states that “domestic tourism is becoming a mainstay

of the Thai tourism industry” (Travel Weekly Asia, 2010). Overall, a number of domestic trips
in Thailand has continually increased from 51.68 million trips in 1998 to 87 million trips in

2009 with a number of Thai population of 63.52 million people as show in figure 1 (TAT,

2010; DOPA, 2009a) (Figure 2).

A Case Study of the Amphawa Floating Market, Thailand

The Amphawa floating market (AFM) is located in Amphawa community, Amphawa

district, Samut Songkhram province, central part of Thailand (Samutsongkhram, 2010). This

community is 65 kilometers west of Bangkok; which is the capital city of Thailand. The

Amphawa community is set on low-lying area, and comprises of a main river and small canals

with three types of water surrounded; which are fresh water, brackish water and sea water.

There are three seasons; which are summer, rainy and winter season (ibid). The number of local

population at the Amphawa community is 5,513 people with 1,710 households (DOPA,

2009b). A main occupation of Amphawa people is agriculture and fishery (Samutsongkhram,

2010). An average income is 81,247 baht (USD 2,716) per person per year (ibid). Additionally,

an area of the market is 2,674.94 square meters, with 800 meters long on both sides of the

Amphawa canal (Samutsongkhram, 2010; Silapacharanan, 2008). Most buildings in this area

are one or two-storey wooden houses in traditional Thai style with a gable roof, some of them

are over 100 years old (Silapacharanan, 2008).

Historically, in the 18th century, Amphawa was a town of residence of King Rama I and

a birth place of King Rama II of Chakri dynasty of Thailand (ibid). In 19th century, Amphawa

was one of the largest community centers; where people came for trading and exchanging

products (Luekveerawattana, 2006; Silapacharanan, 2008). Later, in 1975, the road

construction began to access to this area which was a starting point to change a way of life of

Amphawa people. The change from the use of river to land transport brought young people to

cities for job opportunities. As a consequence, the uses and activities of the Amphawa market
declined and the wooden houses along the canal were abandoned (Samutsongkhram, 2010;

Silapacharanan, 2008). In 2001, the office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and

Planning in co-operation with Chulalongkorn University, Amphawa municipality and the

Danish government; who support the fund, had a project to renovate 18 traditional old buildings

(Silapacharanan, 2008). The renovation was completed in 2003 and promoted for domestic

tourism in 2004 (ibid).

The Amphawa community offers attractions and activities for visitors such as visiting

the AFM which operates from Friday to Sunday between 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm, experiencing

local and traditional way of life by taking a boat along a canal to see local scenery, staying at

a home stay and participating in local cultures such as morning alms, paddling to see orchards,

exchanging knowledge and stories or having a meal with the home stay’s owner, sightseeing

to see glow worm, visiting the Amphawan Chetiyaram temple or exploring a history of

Amphawa, shopping for local product and souvenir, and tasting local food (Samutsongkhram,


In regard to visitors at the AFM, the study of Luekveerawattana (2006), in 2005, found

that there were 2,500 visitors per day. In 2008, there were 7,017 visitors per day

(Danpongsuwan, 2008). Besides, the survey of Danpongsuwan (2008) showed that most of

visitors visit the AFM had an average age of 32.53 years old. Most of them were 15 to 35 years

old. In addition, the majority of visitors was worker and teenager; including employees,

business owners, students, and others respectively. Most visitors had income below USD 600

per month, around USD 750 and above USD 900 respectively (ibid). Besides, the majority of

visitors came from Bangkok (43%), other provinces in the central of Thailand (38%), abroad

(2%) and other parts of Thailand (17%) (Danpongsuwan, 2008).

From the above numbers, the majority of visitors come from the city, Bangkok.

According to Evrard and Leepreecha (as cited in Winter, Teo, & Chang, 2009, p.245) described

that “rural area is seen to be a symbol of an idyllic past (rural-ness is equated with past-ness)

endangered by modernity. Under the influence of an idyllic, traditionalist and nostalgic vision

of the countryside, rural spaces have been reinvented and transformed into appealing visual

and conceptual archetypes which sustain discourses on national identity and history”. Murphy

(1985) also argued that one of reasons that made city people visit a local community in a rural

area because they want to escape from their routine life. Before people make a trip, they usually

know about the place that they are going to visit. Moreover, from a visitor’s background, it

showed that young adults or working class people are a prime travel market. It can be analyzed

that they can afford a trip because of their discretionary income and available time. As the

majority of visitors come from Bangkok and other nearby provinces, it can be analyzed that a

location of the market is another factor that encourages them to make a quick decision to visit

the place, as well as convenient accessibility and public transports which go directly to the


Moreover, most visitors; both workers and teenagers, came with a group of friends

(65%), a family (17%), a tour group (12%), alone (2%), and others or government sector (4%)

(Danpongsuwan, 2008). Besides, 35% of total visitors made an over-night trip meanwhile 65%

of them made a day trip. The average time that the day trip visitors spent was around three

hours (ibid). The study of Danpongsuwan (2008) showed that more than half of the visitors

came with a group of friends; therefore, it can be analyzed that these visitors have a social

motivator to visit the place which include social activities (Murphy, 1985). In addition, Pearce

(2005, p.129) suggested that “normally visitors who come with a family or friends do not have

much relationship with a host community. Unlike visitors who come alone have to be braver

to talk to local people”. In addition, the duration of stay is a day trip and an overnight stay.
Here, visitors can spend short time for visiting the AFM. Therefore, it encourages people who

live in nearby provinces or have time for leisure and recreation to visit during the weekend.

In addition, the research of Luekveerawattana (2006) and Danpongsuwan (2008) showed

that visitors knew people in this area such as friends and cousins who persuaded them to visit

the AFM. Also, the visitors get information of the AFM from television, radio, newspaper,

magazine, billboard, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s public relations, and internet

(ibid). From the research, we can consider that suggestion from friends and relatives have an

influence to persuade people to visit the place as friends and relatives have visited and

experienced the place before; therefore, they tend to believe in this information. In addition,

marketing through a variety of media helps visitors to access the information about the

destination like accommodation, activities, attractions, service and facilities, especially, the

information is available on reliable or quality sources like the TAT’s public relation or travel

magazines. Besides, many previous visitors took photos and posted on websites or blogs with

smiley or happy expression, these can support the information for visitors to visit (Bowen &

Clarke, 2009).

Moreover, from the study of Danpongsuwan (2008), it shows that most visitors who

visited the Amphawa community because they want to visit the AFM (44.35%), the Amphawan

Chetiyaram temple (30.43%), way of life vernacular architecture trail (15.65%), and other

visitors want see glowworms and natural scenery, take photos, taste local food and buy local

products and souvenirs shopping (9.57%).

Murphy (1985) described that one reason that people travel is because they are curious

for something. Hudman (1980, as cited in Murphy, 1985) argued that “curiosity make people

travel to search for all kinds of experiences in all parts of the world. These people are curious

to seek for something different; to see people, places, cultures, and political systems. One
component of their travel motivation is to see culture in different destinations” (ibid). In

addition, Murphy (1985) argued that visitors are usually attracted by the beauty of the

destination. He added that the beauty can take in many forms such as nature resources, cultural

attributes of local society and its heritage. To apply with these ideas with the Amphawa

community, scenery of local agriculture and way of life, traditional old buildings, the AFM,

and the natural resources provide idyllic settings which make this place beauty and different

from other places, which is why it can attract the visitors. Additionally, food and local product

can be a factor for some Thai visitors as normally Thai visitor behavior like shopping and eating

Thai food (OK Nation, 2009). Overall, these factors persuade the visitors to the AFM and the

community because they need for change, something that they could not find at home or in

their community (Murphy, 1985).

Furthermore, Danpongsuwan (2008) found opinions and attitudes of visitors that have

towards the AFM. She found that 78% of visitors complained that the AFM was crowded. In

average, most of them preferred to have at least one person in all radius spaces was 0.92 meter

space between each (Danpongsuwan, 2008). “Overall, the visitors highly satisfied with the

local nature and the AFM. Besides, the visitors perceived moderate satisfaction with

arrangement at the AFM, river traffic, parking spaces, and safety procedures; whereas, their

lowest satisfactions were sidewalk along the canal at the AFM” (ibid). From the study of

Danpongsuwan (2008), most visitors are unhappy with the visitor congestion which leads to

traffic congestion, parking space limitation, and walking space at the AFM. These can be

unexpected experiences and make them feel less enjoyable. However, the visitors satisfied with

local nature. It implies that in visitor’s point of view, they perceive that the natural resource

and the environment are still in an acceptable condition.

In addition to Luekveerawattana (2006), an interview with a visitor; who stay overnight

with a home stay, showed that the visitor preferred to participate in local activities; such as
gardening, cooking, producing local craft rather than only spend a night. From this interview

(Luekveerawattana, 2006), it shows that the visitor is interested in local culture and way of life

of the Amphawa people that is a reason of visiting a community and staying at a local home


In regard to the local people at Amphawa, Danpongsuwan (2008) found opinions and

attitudes of the local people that have towards the visitors. The result showed that “60% of all

local people; who participate in tourism business at the AFM felt moderately crowded from

tourists, 20% of them highly felt congested, and 20% of them felt rarely congested”

(Danpongsuwan, 2008). “In terms of tourist’s size, 60% of the local people do not mind, and

40% of them prefer to have at least one person in all radius spaces with 0.5 meter. Overall

highest satisfaction of the local people were harmony with nature (100%)” (Danpongsuwan,

2008). “Furthermore, 40% of them felt that the utilization and arrangement of the market, river

traffic, and parking area are moderate” (ibid). This result mainly reflects to visitor congestion.

It can be interpreted that the majority of the local people are not worried about the congestion

because visitors and tourists are their customers; therefore, they would encourage many

customers. If there are fewer customers, they will earn less income. On the contrary, local

people who do not earn benefit from tourism or receive negative impacts from tourism would

feel irritate to tourist congestion. Another possibility can be a crowd of visitors make the local

people cannot access or take leisure at the AFM.

Moreover, the local people highly satisfy with local nature although there is an issue of

canal-side erosion and decreasing in glowworm population (Pollution Control Department,

2008). It can be implied that the local nature is value to them and they are proud of their natural

resources. Furthermore, it reflects that overall natural environment at the community is not

highly degraded which is a factor that visitors continue to come to Amphawa.

Furthermore, according to Luekveerawattana (2006), there was an interview with three

local people who were home stay owners. The interview showed that “many Thai visitors

request facilities such as an air condition room, security, and others; whereas Taiwanese and

Japanese asked for warm water and a westerner asked for a personal house as they want to stay

for a month’ (Luekveerawattana, 2006). From this study, different demands from tourists can

lead to several changes. For example, normally, most residents here do not use an air condition

and a water heater (Ruekpornpipat, 2009). It is obvious that tourists bring this technology to

the community. As a consequent, local people want to serve the needs of tourists; therefore,

modern resorts that provide full facilities are built (Luekveerawattana, 2006). Besides, it can

be analyzed that visitors do not know what home stay really offers to the visitors which is why

they request for facilities.

The Changes of the Amphawa Floating Market and the Community

Since tourism in Amphawa started in 2004, this place has become a source of generating

income. Many facilities were created to serve visitors. Then, a number of visitors have been

increased dramatically; which has led to economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts

(Danpongsuwan, 2008; Wanichritta, 2007). These consequences have led to the changes in

lifestyle of the local people and the community in both positive and negative directions.

In terms of economy, Murphy (1985, p.89) “argued that tourism is a business, for both

an individual entrepreneur and a community which acts as host to this activity”. Most

communities desire to have tourism in their area because visitors will bring income to the

community (Tiebout, 1962 as cited in Murphy, 1985). Besides, employment, cash flow, and

infrastructure development are the benefit to both locals and visitors (Williams & Shaw, 1988;

De Kadt, 1979 as cited in Glasson et al., 1995).

In 2009, the Amphawa community generated income from tourists and visitors

approximately 500 million baht (USD 16.7 million) (Supakitamnuay, 2009). The local

residents, who participate in tourism businesses, earn income from providing home stay

accommodation, retail shops, food shops, and boat services. In fact, there are more non-local

visitors visit the market (Danpongsuwan, 2008). Murphy (1985, p.7) argued “Non-local

visitors are a major economic consideration. Money spent by non-local visitors to an area is

income for that community. If the money was spent by local people it would be redistributed

income and thus not so beneficial to the destination area”. From this argument, in order to

maintain the market to operate for long-term, it is necessary to balance a number of both local

and non-local visitors because any incidents can occur and effect to non-local visitors to visit

the AFM.

Besides, as a result of tourism at the AFM, it has raised a price of land nearby the market

from 800,000 baht (USD 26,729) in 2004 to 1.2 million baht (USD 40,094) per 1,600 square

meters or higher in some private areas (Supakitamnuay, 2009; The Treasury Department,

2008). This high price can be a barrier for some outsiders to make an investment here. It is also

because the market operates only three days which it may not value for the investment. Unlike

local people, they have their main activity which is agriculture and fishery which they work on

it during a week day and do businesses at the AFM during a weekend (Supakitamnuay, 2009).

In contrast, there is a negative impact to local economic which is leakage, for instance,

importing food and beverage from outside community, and hiring employees from other

provinces (Middleton et al., 1998). Under this term, Murphy (1985) argued that if a community

is able to provide enough tourist facilities and services, then they will not need to find sources

from outside. Therefore, all revenue will remain in the community and benefit to local

residents. In this case, most supply is local product; therefore, the local residents do not need

to go to other provinces to purchase supply for visitors (Samutsongkhram, 2010). However,

there are people from other provinces come to the community and operate businesses (West

Clipping Online, 2009). Consequently, some portion of income goes to outsiders (ibid).

Tourism also creates socio-cultural impacts. This type of impact includes social and

cultural impacts (Glasson et al., 1995). Social impact concerned with the changes in the day-

to-day quality of life of residents in the tourist destinations. Meanwhile, cultural impact

concerned with changes in traditional ideas and values, norms and identities which results from

tourists (ibid). In general, Wolf (as cited in Glasson et al., 1995) stated that socio-cultural

impacts are ‘people impacts’; which is a result from the interaction between ‘hosts’ and ‘guests/


In general, visitors come to the AFM for leisure and recreation; whereas, the hosts

spend their time to provide service and serve the needs to the visitors. The interaction between

the local people and the visitors mainly occurs when the visitors purchase goods or services

from the local people, and when they face to face and exchange information and ideas (Murphy,

1985). This can be when the visitors stay at a home-stay and have conversation or participate

in a family’s activity. By this way, the visitors tend to have more interaction with the hosts and

have an opportunity to learn the Amphawa people’s lifestyle. Meanwhile, the hosts can

exchange knowledge and learn from them.

However, an interaction between hosts and guests are not always smooth (Glasson et

al., 1995). Several actions may contribute to difficulties in relationship. For instance, visitors

who come for a day trip may have temporal constraints when they spend long time for finding

a car park or queuing. When this action occurs repeatedly, the hosts will become to feel

irritating. In addition, local residents may also suffer from a loss of sense of place, as their

surroundings are transformed to accommodate the tourists (ibid). In this case, during weekends

at the AFM, a crowd of visitors disturbs local people who want to spend time there. Besides, it
reduces the capability of the host area to provide a good visitor experience as well as decrease

the endearment to the destination and sense of the place (Glasson et al., 1995; Murphy, 1985).

On the other hand, the local residents are proud of their community as non-local visitors

visit their community. It can be implied that their community has value, uniqueness and beauty.

Here, it can be revealed at a local school, the Amphawan School and College. The school builds

awareness of local pride to students (Amphawan School & College, 2010). Furthermore,

tourism development improves quality of life to the local people in terms of local services such

as establishment of electricity and night lights at a canal and waste management

(Samutsongkhram, 2010).

In addition to cultural impact, Murphy (1985) proposed that hosts are confronted with

a comparative wealth, and visitors from different cultures. Therefore, tourism can affect on

changing cultural values and the native languages and customs (ibid). When this action affects

the hosts, it breaks down local values. Referring to the AFM, many visitors come from different

provinces. In fact, different parts of Thailand have different Thai accents, and some provinces

have their local languages. For instance, as most visitors come from Bangkok, they can cause

a local accent fade away because the local people would try to make a clear conversation with

the visitors or customers (Murphy, 1985).

In contrast, if there is no visitor or tourist, culture and traditions may have been lost

completely (Glasson et al., 1995). Additionally, Murphy (1985) argued that one of benefits of

tourism is extend cultural environment and daily life. This can be proven at the Amphawa

community. Before tourism was introduced, the wooden Thai houses in the community were

abandoned because new generation moved to the city for employment. Since there was a

tourism project, these buildings were renovated and have been preserved for the community’s

cultural heritage and for visitors to visit, learn, and experience a history behind them. Besides,
the use of the floating market that had been disappeared, it becomes revival again

(Danpongsuwan, 2008). The Chak Phra festival, a local tradition that had been repealed earlier,

is being considered by the local government to persist due to tourism development

(Samutsongkhram, 2010).

In regard to physical environment, it mostly focuses on natural environment which

includes air, water, flora and fauna, and landscape (Glasson et al., 1995). Murphy (1985)

argued that tourists are the prime cause of environmental damage. The tourists do not intend to

damage the environment. Most of them come to the place to admire a scene or event (ibid). In

this case, the AFM and the community face with environmental problems which are air

pollution from visitors’ vehicles and motorboats, water pollution from motorboats, noise

pollution from stereos, visitors, and vehicles, and litter pollution from visitors eating from boat

food shop and garbage cans (Danpongsuwan, 2008). Moreover, as a number of visitors

increases, the use of motorboats also increases which causes canal-side erosion (Pollution

Control Department, 2008). As a consequent, it damages plantation along the canal as well as

cork trees by the riverside; which are habitat of glowworms. Then it causes the decreasing in

number of glowworms (ibid).

The Amphawa Floating Market in Butler’s Concept of Hypothetical Evolution of a

Tourist Area Life Cycle

Using Butler’s concept to illustrate a position of the AFM, it can be analyzed that at the

beginning of tourism in 2004, when the tourism had not been much promoted by public

relations, visitors who came to the AFM knew the place from words of mouth of their friends

and relatives who lived in Samutsongkram province. That time not many places offered home

stay accommodation. Therefore, during this period, the AFM can be placed at the exploration
stage in Butler’s concept. Later, in 2005, when the place was advertised through media by TV

commercial, travel magazine, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s public relation and web

sites, radio and billboard, local people started to participate in tourism by opening their houses

as a home stay to accommodate tourists. Then, more visitors visited the AFM. In this year,

there were 2,500 visitors with 48 accommodations available for tourists. Here, tourism at the

AFM can be placed in the involvement stage of the Butler’s concept. Later, it is obvious that

tourism activities generate income and bring benefits to local people which mainly from

tourism businesses and employment opportunities (Supakitamnuay, 2009). Therefore, more

local people invested in building resorts and opening home stays and shops (Luekveerawattana,

2006). At the same time, more visitors continue to visit the market. Due to these tourism

activities, it can be placed the market at the development stage in the Butler’s concept. Until in

2008, the advertisement of the AFM had continued and a number of visitors had increased to

7,017 visitors per day which was higher than a number of local residents which was 5,513

people. Besides, a number of accommodations had increased from 48 accommodations in 2005

to 200 accommodations in 2009 (Kawprachasumpan, 2009). At this growth, it is the

consolidation stage in Butler’s concept where tourism activities and the number of visitors

continue to increase together. Soon after, the tourism at the AFM had reached at the stagnation

stage. It is not only because of the high number of visitors, but negative social and physical

impacts occur. In addition to the exceeded carrying capacity, an area of the market is 2,674.94

square meters. If the area of the market is divided by 7,017 visitors; therefore, there will be

three people in one square meter. In general, this congestion already created unpleasant

environment to the visitors (Danpongsuwan, 2008). Once, a destination is too crowded, the

visitors are unpleasant, and the AFM loses its sense of place. Besides, the study of

Danpongsuwan (2008) showed that parking areas at the market are able to support 4,450

persons per day. Besides, there are 31 restrooms available at the market which can support
1,860 persons per day. These facts strongly prove that the number of visitors exceeded carrying


Moreover, tourism growth has created social conflict among local people. As

mentioned earlier, not all local people participate in tourism at the AFM, and tourism activities

such as loud noise from motorboats at night time, canal-side erosion, and plantation damage,

have disturbed the local residents (Pollution Control Department, 2008). The local people who

benefit and do no benefit from tourism had been discussed about this issue, but there is no

change. As a result, some of these people feel irritated; therefore, they cut down cork trees

along the canal, where are a habitat of glowworms, as to make a barrier for visitors to take

motorboats to see the glowworms. Consequently, this has led to decrease in glowworm

population as the local people have observed that the light from glowworms has been

decreasing (ibid).

Therefore, from this stage, it can be analyzed that tourism at the AFM is still able to

move toward direction C which is the stagnation stage. Firstly, in accordance with visitor

background, as analyzed, Thai visitors like to visit this type of destination, especially with

combination of cost, location, accessibility, time, and season (every weekend). Next, there is

other attraction nearby the AFM such as the Amphawan Chetiyaram temple. Besides, the

limitation of car park, market area, and facility will limit number of visitors. Then, it is a small

chance for tourism to move toward rejuvenation stage. On the contrary, if the tourism

stakeholders do not aware of the local environment, there is a chance for tourism to move to

the decline stage because tourism at the AFM also bases on its natural resources. Other factor

that could affect to a number of visitors is that the Tourism Authority of Thailand is promoting

other community markets in nearby provinces (TAT, 2010). All in all, an opportunity to

increase more visitors to the AFM is less.

Butler’s concept provides an idea for tourism stakeholders to analyze a situation and

tourism impacts at a tourist destination as it is necessary to maintain the destination, the AFM,

the community and its resources, for long-term tourism. Local government participation can

be a hand in terms of providing rules and regulations for limitation in tourism businesses as to

maintain the tourism growth and eliminate the negative impacts and pressure on the destination.

For instance, limitation in a number of accommodation; tourist facilities and infrastructures;

car parks, public transports, and road, can help to limit number of visitors. In other words, this

is a way to stop facilitating the visitors. Also, limitation of number of motorboat services should

take into consideration as to slow down the canal-side erosion. The local government may force

them to limit a number of trips or make rotation for different boat service owners.

Additionally, it is necessary to provide knowledge to tourism stakeholders about

tourism management as to sustain local resources and pursue long-term economy and tourism,

for instance, how to sustain the destination, its local culture and environment, how to arrange

a home stay business in the right way, and how to manage waste. Knowledge and education

are a long term understanding and perception (Wanichrittata, 2007).


Domestic tourism has become a trend for tourism in Thailand. The AFM is one of

domestic destinations in Thailand. There are many factors that persuade Thais to visit the place

such as landscape and traditional building scenery, history, culture and way of live, food,

shopping, recreation, socialization, location and accessibility, and price. Different visitors have

different preferences, opinions, and attitudes toward a destination as well as local people have

different aspects toward visitors and tourism. However, the domestic tourism generates both
positive and negative impacts in economic, socio-cultural and physical aspects to the local

community. Consequently, these impacts from tourism activities make the community changes

which are relevant to Butler’s theory. Therefore, it is important for all tourism stakeholders to

aware of their activities and to consider how to preserve and maintain the way of life of local


I would like to thank to my parents and aunts that have encouraged my study. Next, I would

like to thank to Dr. David Fisher, a senior lecturer in the Environment, Society and Design

Division, Lincoln University, New Zealand, for being patience to educate me and for all his

contribution throughout my course of study and all guidelines that he suggested. I also would

like to thank to Lhakpa Tenji Lama, my classmate; that spent his time to suggest on my work.

I would like to thank to Shagith Prakash and Thomas K. Philip, my flat-mates; that helped me

to revise my article. Last but not least, I would like to thank to Jetch Virutudomsin, my

boyfriend; that provided opinions and additional information on my article process.

Biographical Notes

Noppamast Sae-Tang is doing a post graduate diploma in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism

Management at Lincoln University, New Zealand. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Travel

Industry Management from Mahidol University International College in Thailand.

Figure 1: Adapted from Brigham (2007)

Number of Domestic Trips

Number of
65 Domestic Trips
60 (Million)

Figure 2: Adapted from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (2010)


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