Is Khanom becoming the new over developed tourist trap?
I moved to Khanom some 9 years ago, escaping from Phuket with my Thai wife in order to be nearer family but more precisely because of the unspoilt, provincial nature of the place and lack of foreign tourists. We have seen relatively little development over the years, much of which failed. There is a change however, and with the Khanom Beach Magazine and several Khanom websites singing the praises of investment in development, whilst suggesting that the area would remain unspoilt at the same time.
There is a real lesson from history to be learnt from this ideology and it is this: Extensive global travellers over the last four or so decades are only too well aware of what development for tourism is all about, and what kind of legacy it leaves in its wake.
Nowadays every port of call exhibits the great sameness as any other, developments seems to clone all others as the great money making machine sweeps all before it. You have mentioned Samui and the swarming, fume laden dust bowl that is Phuket. These are prime examples of modern rampant development, not just here, but worldwide.
It cannot happen here? Where have we heard this argument before? Over development may not happen here in my lifetime, but if it did where could one go to find that unspoilt and provincial place again? I don’t say that some smaller entrepreneurs should not make some developments work for the good of the community; my beef is that once a “Big Boy” sees what is happening (and he will), his ever full coffers will swamp out the local smaller fry; the well versed machine would then swing into its exacting ritual as it inevitably does.
For sure development will bring in the money, but in due process the local population will swell immeasurably by a new influx of eager labour, though the real money will not be seen except by a select few. In the end the sprawl that is left will make local people feel betrayed, regretful and eventually scorning their legacy.
Ron Davis, a Tambon Tongnean resident.