1st Edition

Migration, Micro-Business and Tourism in Thailand Highlanders in the City

By Alexander Trupp Copyright 2017
    168 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Visitors to Thailand’s urban and beach-sided tourist hotspots notice the presence of colourful and predominantly female vendors offering self-made and mass-manufactured products. A high percentage of these vendors are members of the highland ethnic minority group of Akha who have become micro-entrepreneurs or self-employed street vendors. The work and everyday life experiences of these ethnic minority migrants are situated at the intersections of tourism, migration, and the informal sector.

    This book investigates the social, economic, and political embeddedness of street vendors in urban tourist contexts in Thailand. Based on extensive field research, it presents a detailed analysis of urban-directed mobility patterns and revealing strategies and dilemmas in the urban souvenir business. Focusing on the development of urban ethnic minority souvenir stalls run mostly by people belonging to the highland group of Akha, the author explains the spatial expansion of ethnic businesses and assesses the economic and political obstacles micro-entrepreneurs are confronted with. The book offers an understanding of the everyday practices and social relations of and between unequally powerful actors related to ethnic minority tourism in urban contexts, and systematically integrates individual and collective action into socio-economic and politico-institutional contexts.

    A significant contribution to migration and ethnic minority studies in the Thai and Asian urban tourism context, the book will be of interest to researchers in the fields of Southeast Asian studies, tourism, migration, and ethnic minority studies.

    1. Ethnic Minorities and Street Vendors in Thailand’s Tourist Areas

    2. Conceptual Foundations and Methodology

    3. Thailand and the Ethnic Minority Context

    4. Ethnic Tourism and the Evolvement of Micro-Businesses in Urban Contexts

    5. Opportunities and Constraints

    6. Differences within: Migration, Vending, and Gender

    7 Social Dimensions of Economic Action

    8. Strategies and Dilemmas in the Field of Urban Souvenir Businesses


    Alexander Trupp is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of South Pacific, Fiji; a former lecturer at the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University, Thailand, and editor-in-chief of the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies. He obtained his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Geography at the University of Vienna, Austria.