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Thailand: Chao Phraya River As A Local Potential For Economic And Human Security – OpEd

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The most important aspect of human security is economic. Moreover, after the end of cold  war, the focus of countries in the world is not about increasing military power to deal with threats from other countries, but instead on how to increase the economic state. As we know, the world competition shifting from the military to a focus on the economy. Economic security becomes important, as stated by Sheila  R. Ronis in Introduction Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security? The book states that economic security is the one of main elements in national security. Regarding national economic security, we cannot escape from economic capabilities of the state. There is no question that the one of infrastructures part is a strong economy. (R.Ronis, 2010).

The Tourism Sector is a sector that gives a great contribute to Economic growth in the country.  (Travel Kompas, 2014). From economic, there are eight advantages if the country develops tourism : first, increasing business opportunities. The second is increasing employment opportunities. Third, increasing tax revenues. Fourth is increasing national income. Fifth, accelerate the process of the income distribution. Sixth, increase the value added of products of the cultural result. Seventh is expanding the market for domestic products. Eighth is giving a multiplier effect on the economy due to transactions made by tourists or investors. (Setianda, 2015). 

The Tourism Sector is a sector that gives great contribute to economic growth so that it can improve the welfare and quality of life of the people and the most important is the economic security of countries to increase the role of tourism sectors in the economic. Increasing competitiveness in the tourism sector is the key. By utilizing the natural of the country and preserving the nature wealth that states have. And the one of the country that has been succeeding in introducing the tourism sector to the world is Thailand. If we see from the side of progress in tourism, Thailand is a country that is fairly open and serious about the tourism industry. Although visitors are unstable every year or increase every  year and decrease visitors which can be caused by various factors such as natural disaster, terrorists, asylum, seekers, crises, and others. But, with the increase of visitors who visit the country, make increase more income more from the country. Especially the increase in foreign exchange. For Thailand, tourism is the one of keys to maintaining economic security in the country. And the development strategy is needed to increase the tourism sector of Thailand contributed 2.23 trillion Baht (around Rp1.400 trillion) to the country’s economic activity in 2017. The amount is equivalent to 21.2% of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And Thailand has also produced export visitors of 2.03 trillion Baht (IDR 880.6 Trillion) in 2008, four times greater than Indonesia’s achievement that only Rp.192,61 trillion in the same period. Therefore it can be concluded that Thailand is successful in advancing and maintaining economic security through the economic sector.

According to The World Travel & Tourism Council with contributions from the tourism sector which has contributed to the tourism sector which includes visitors, investment and commodities and, industries such as accommodation, food service, and trade. It has absorbed the workforce of indigenous Thai people until 2016 as many as 5,739,000 workers and contributed 20.6% GDP in the same year. And increased by 9.4% to 21.9% gdp in 2017.  (How Does Travel & Tourism Compare To Other Sectors?, 2017) Of course, with increasing visitors every year makes the country encouraged to improve their country so make the image of the country better in the eyes of visitors who will visit.   Getting a pleasant experience in the country makes visitors give good feedback and promote tourism and encourage them to visit that country again. so that the effects caused by tourism is not only increasing the country’s foreign exchange but provide welfare to the local community. 

For example The Chao Phraya river. Chao Phraya River with a length  of 372 kilometers, formerly used as a transportation center  in Bangkok. Chao Phraya river has fertile aquatic resource. This river managed to bring the capital in glory. Many local tourists to foreign countries use water transportation as a means to go anywhere. So, they cannot feel dizziness through the crowded city traffic. And this river is an important means of transportation for Thais. The river transportation developed by Thailand seems to be quite effective and efficient as a means of transportation of the export sector. So that, it can increase the sanitation of products on the international market. Every day a barges transport trade goods such as rice, oil, drinks, concrete, mining goods and other agricultural product that indicate the importance of the role of the river in the modern economic distribution model. Barges with a capacity from 40 tons to 600 tons were pulled using ferries. The role of this river has many benefits for local people and visitors. About the energy crisis, most of industries are starting to abandon the use of trucks or trailers as means of transportation and switching to river transportation using barges  (Patiwiri, 2009). 

Transportation on the Chao Phraya River is managed by Government and the ships at this river will also take travelers to the favorite destinations around the city of Bangkok. Like Wat Arun, Wat Pho, even to the king’s palace or the Grand Palace. And the citizens of Bangkok if they want to work or go to the office, through this river because they do not want to get stuck in traffic on the street of Bangkok. Preffering to take a boat instead of taking a bus or other land transportation. Besides, The Chao Phraya River also has considerable fish resouces. So that, this river has become the main livelihood of the surrounding population.

The Tourism supporting infrastructure is also taken seriously by Thailand. To encourage the visitors, Thailand opened Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006. Suvarnabhumi is the one of busiest airports in the world. Where last year it served 129.2 million passengers. In addition to the airport’s transportation facilities in Thailand are also well developed. Thailand has an advance railway line with a total length of 4.043 km. The visitors do not be confused about public transportation. So is the highway. Roads are also being developed which have reached 180.053 km. Stacked highways have also become a common sight there. Therefore, it can be concluded that tourism is an important contributor to the Thai economy. The perspective of International Relations said that the capacity of countries is not only measured by how strong the military power is. The scale of the economy, and the existence and influence on the international stage. But also determined by how smart a state can explore inherent superiority.

The conclusion is Thailand can maintain its economic security by favoring its economic sector so that it is very influential on human security because of the progress of Thailand’s tourism, especially The Chao Phraya as a means of transportation for local people and visitors. But on the other hand, the existing tourist center in Thailand and with advances in tourism in Thailand, so make unemployment in Thailand have a low unemployment rate in the world. At the end of 2014, their unemployment rate was recorded at 0.56 percent  (Kisihandi, 2015). The unemployment rate below are percent has been going on since 2011, while the record for the highest rate of unemployment in Thailand at the level of 5.73 percent in 2001 (Kantor Statistik Nasional). With 0.56 percent, it delivered Thailand as the country with the lowest unemployment rate in the world.

*Nani Septianie, International Relations student at Universitas Islam Indonesia

References

(2017). How Does Travel & Tourism Compare To Other Sectors? London,Inggris: World Travels & Tourism Council.

(2017). Kemenpar Lakukan Kerja Sama dengan Pariwisata Thailand. Jakarta: CNN Indonesia.

Kisihandi, F. (2015). Pengangguran Thailand Terendah di Dunia. Jakarta: Republika.co.id.

R.Ronis, S. (2010). Economic Security: Neglected Dimension of National Security? National Defense University Press.

Setianda, V. (2015). Menimbang Daya Saing Pariwisata Indonesia (dibandingkan Singapura,Malaysia, dan Thailand). Jurnal Manajemen Bisnis Indonesia, 1-21.

Tang, S. M. (2015). Rethingking Economic Security in A Globalized World. terbitan onlinedari Routledge Taylor & Francis.

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