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This paper studied the impact and influence of travel writings on tourist decision making regarding traveling to Thailand, tourist conceptualizations of Thailand before traveling and their satisfaction after traveling. The research comprised two projects involving quantitative research and analytical research. The former studied the impact and influence of travel writings and the differences between the tourists' attitudes before and after traveling to Thailand and found that, among the top-five guidebooks, Lonely Planet is the most popular among tourists. It is also found that, before they came to Thailand, what attracted the tourists the most were Thai hospitality, the breathtakingly beautiful and exotic natural scenery, and the myriad tourist attractions. After the trip, they found that Thailand's transportation, food, political stability, and safety were better than described in the books; whereas its uniqueness, value worthiness, and weather were worse.The analytical research studied representation of Thailand in travel writings in English through a stylistic approach, discourse analysis, and conceptions of Orientalism. It found that the writings provide a socio-cultural overview of Thailand and details of tourist attractions. The otherness of “Thainess” is constructed through Thailand's exotic beauty, dangers, social problems, political instability, inadequate freedom of expression, and ‘other habitus’ of Thais. These conceptualizations construct the readers' or tourists' identities as quality travelers and highly knowledgeable and moral individuals.
Journal: Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences - Volume 37, Issue 1, January–April 2016, Pages 1–6