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Kellie M. Tompkins


From its unique history, Thailand has embraced its independence and benefited from its cultural and natural beauty. Transitioning from an agricultural to industrial economy due to the emergence of a strong tourism industry, Thailand has experienced a period of intensive urbanization that has re-shaped Thai lifestyle. Materializing as regional and social disparities, these consequences of industrialization have seemingly divided Thai society, separating those who benefit from the tourism sector while marginalizing those who do not. Additionally, this transition has threatened public health statuses within Thailand, and considering the current tourism trends seen over the past 20 years there is a great need for action and sustainable measures to ensure human health is not adversely affected even more. In this paper, I analyze the history of international tourism in Thailand and argue how this industry has negatively impacted current health statuses (specifically focusing on environmental health, non-communicable diseases, dietary transitions, and medical tourism). Through a review of current literature, this paper highlights the variability of health statuses and the interconnectedness of socioeconomic factors in influencing health and well-being among populations. Policies and programs are not discussed in this paper.