How much sex tourism is there in Thailand?

More British citizens visit Thailand than those of any other non-Asian country. In 2003 (the last year for which full figures are available) some 545,000 British residents arrived on visits. If you remove the children, and the British citizens visiting for business or reasons other than a holiday, you arrive at about 489,000–314,000 men and 175,000 women. That is 139,000 more British men than women coming to Thailand for a holiday–a gap of 28 per cent. The French gender disparity–60,500 more men than women–is 32 per cent, about the same as that of visitors from the US. The Japanese, at 35 per cent, is the highest–over 300,000 more men. If you take Europe as a whole (though there are some countries, like Finland and Sweden, with virtually no disparity) the gap is 25 per cent–494,000 more men than women.

A look at the major rich-nation visitors–those from the US, Australia, Europe and Japan [TC: hey, try the Saudis, predicted ratio infinite]–shows that 952,000 more men than women visited Thailand on holiday in 2003, a disparity of 28 per cent…This pattern is unique among major tourist destinations. Take, for example, the Caribbean, another popular tropical destination for economy tourism. Here, the disparity runs at 2 or 3 per cent–the only country with a significant gap in favour of men, nearly 11 per cent, is Cuba, the Caribbean country most notorious for sex tourism.

Do nearly a million men from the rich world come to Thailand to buy sex every year?

Here is the full story.

My questions: If you go for two weeks, and it costs you $1000 from Europe, how many times must you "do it" to get your money back?  Or is the trip really about saving shame, since sex is so flaunted by Thai prostitutes? (TC: I have been to Thailand, but frankly was disgusted by the thought of partaking).  Is it so unusual that fear of shame drives one to an alternative that is ultimately more shameful?


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