West German tourists are rapidly replacing United States servicemen as one of the biggest money spinners in tourism in Thailand.
GV ZOOM IN Foyer
MV Tourists and locals around hotel swimming pool and bar. (5 shots)
SV German tourists buying jewellery and postcards. (3 shots)
GV Thai dancers in beer cellar. (4 shots)
MV Tourists on conducted tour. (3 shots)
MV Tourists photographing and walking around Temple Po. (5 shots)
GV Guide showing tourists golden buddahs. (2 shots)
GV Golden buddahs.
GV Tourists booking further holidays. (3 shots)
Initials VS 16.10
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Background: West German tourists are rapidly replacing United States servicemen as one of the biggest money spinners in tourism in Thailand.
SYNOPSIS: During the Vietnam War, American soldiers found Bangkok one of the most alluring places in Asia to spend their leave. Many of the city's entrepreneurs feared that the American withdrawal from South East Asia would mean an end to their wartime prosperity.
They need hardly have worried. As fast as the soldiers pulled out, West German tourists began taking their place. Some come for the temples and culture, but about one third are unescorted males. They're known in Thailand as the "pleasure fliers" and they normally make for Bangkok's Patpong Road. It boasts scores of nightclubs, bars and restaurants. And the authorities estimate that at least 100,000 prostitutes ply their trade in some 200 massage parlours and 150 quick-turnover hotels scattered about the city.
A decade ago only about 3,000 West Germans passed through Bangkok a year. Last year that total has risen to about 80,000. Many come on weeklong package tours arranged by West Germany's largest tour operator, Neckermann Reisen. They pay about 560 American dollars for air fares and a week's full accommodation. The West Germans are the fourth largest group to visit Thailand now, after Japanese, Americans and Australians.
Tourism is rapidly increasing in importance as part of Thailand's economy. Last year more than a million tourists visited - almost double the number recorded five years ago.