The impact on and adjustment of workers and entrepreneurs in tourism businesses under the Covid-19 pandemic: A case study of Hua-Hin, Prachuap Khirikhan

Head of Project:

Associate Professor Dr.Sirijit Sunanta


  • Associate Professor Dr.Sirijit Sunanta
  • Assistant Professor Dr.Narong Ardsmiti


November 2021 – October 2023

Background and Significance of Research

Tourism is one of Thailand’s main industries that has generated income for a large number of people. About 20 percent of Thailand’s GDP comes from tourism businesses, and about 15 percent of domestic employment is in the tourism sector (World Tourism and Travel Council 2014). Tourism and service businesses are the sectors that have a high female employment rate since skills and personality linked to femininity, such as tenderness, care, good human relations, and friendliness, are needed (McDowell 2009, Pritchard et al. 2007, Sunanta 2020).

For this reason, tourism businesses are considered an opportunity for women’s employment and economic freedom, in which women can serve as both workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism sector, especially in medium-scale and small-scale businesses (Tucker & Boobana 2012, Trupp & Sunanta 2017). These businesses provide a higher income when compared to those of other sectors, such as the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. However, jobs in the tourism sector have relatively low security since businesses in the tourism industry have a high rate of informal employment, in which informal workers are not protected in terms of income and welfare according to the labor protection law. In this low-paying sector, there is a high rate of female employment. Moreover, a number of women are unpaid workers in the family business in tourism.

In 2020, Thailand’s tourism sector encountered its worst crisis due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that forced international travel and tourism to shut down. From the end of 2021 to today, tourism entrepreneurs have adapted to survive this long-lasting crisis. Many businesses shut down temporarily or permanently, resulting in workers’ lower income or job loss. The impact on the tourism sector has affected the entire Thai economy as it is highly dependent on tourism businesses. The Coronavirus crisis has revealed the vulnerabilities of employment in the tourism sector that existed even before the pandemic and highlighted the problem to be seen more clearly and intensely. Hence, the study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic also aims to analyze and address these vulnerabilities in the tourism economy.


  1. To study the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the adjustment of women workers and small-scale and medium-scale entrepreneurs in tourism businesses in Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.
  2. To survey the effectiveness of public remedial measures for women who are workers and small-scale and medium-scale entrepreneurs in the tourism sector in Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.
  3. To offer suggestions to mitigate the short-term and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women workers and small-scale and medium scale entrepreneurs in the tourism sector, as well as to strengthen social protection and care for workers in the tourism sector to develop sustainable tourism businesses in Thailand in the hope that tourism will ultimately become an economic sector that serves to improve people’s quality of life, based on the engagement of relevant sectors, including the private sector, the government, labor, civil society, and academic institutions.



  • การประชุมเชิงปฏิบัติการระดับนานาชาติ “Revisiting Tourism Culture” ณ สถาบันวิจัยภาษาและวัฒนธรรมเอเชีย มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล วันที่ 18 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2565
  • การประชุมวิชาการ บพค. 2565 PMU-B Brain Power Congress 2022: Future and Challenges of Frontier Research and Creative Economy toward Sustainable Development ณ อิมแพ็คอารีนา เมืองทองธานี วันที่ 29 ตุลาคม 2565
  • การประชุมเชิงปฏิบัติการระดับนานาชาติ “Health and Wellbeing Tourism and International Retirement Migration to Thailand” ณ สถาบันวิจัยภาษาและวัฒนธรรมเอเชีย มหาวิทยาลัยมหิดล วันที่ 23 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2565
  • การสร้างสรรค์สารคดี เรื่อง “เบื้องหลังยิ้มสยาม” ร่วมกับบริษัทสื่อดลใจโดยการสนับสนุนจากกองทุนวิจัยและพัฒนากิจการกระจายเสียง กิจการโทรทัศน์และกิจการโทรคมนาคม เพื่อประโยชน์สารธารณะ (กทปส.)


การสร้างความร่วมมือกับสถาบันวิจัยและวิชาการในพื้นที่ร่วมกับมหาวิทยาลัยเทคโนโลยีราชมงคลรัตนโกสินทร์ วิทยาเขตวังไกลกังวล และในระดับนานาชาติ ร่วมกับ Sociology and Human Geography Department, University of Salzburg, Austria