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Migration, Micro-Business and Tourism in Thailand: Highlanders in the City

Studies urban migration patterns and life of ethnic minority who have become micro-entrepreneurs and self-employed street vendors in Thai urban tourism context, especially Akha – a highland ethnic minority group. Covers field research in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and the southern beachside areas. Mentions concepts of mobility in Thailand and Southeast Asia, statistics, law and regulation regarding street vending. Introduces political changes in highland minority regions since the 1950’s, background of Akha in terms of migration patterns, socio-cultural traits, and gender roles. Analyzes Akha urban migration, reasons behind an expansion of Akha souvenir business from highland villages to Chiang Mai city and other tourist destinations, dilemma in urban souvenir business, economic and political obstacles confronting such these micro-entrepreneurs, and a missing link of Akha men in vending business.