Are informal tourism entrepreneurs actually marginalised?How do informal tourism entrepreneurs contribute to changes in society?
Six in ten people globally earn their livelihoods in the informal economies. They provide essential products and services, mitigate unemployment, and complement the supply gaps in the formal sectors. However, the views of informal entrepreneurs have often been marginalised and little is known about the informal tourism economy’s characteristics; no study has ever estimated the size of the informal tourism economy.
This PhD thesis investigates how informal tourism entrepreneurs co-construct their informal tourism sector through their praxis in Thailand. Blending concepts from different disciplines (i.e. sociology, anthropology and economics), this PhD thesis shows empirically that informal tourism entrepreneurs have important and relevant capitals (e.g. cultural, social and dream capital). They contribute substantially to the socio-economic world of destinations in achieving their broader sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is also the first to estimate the size of the informal tourism economy and it calls for inclusive frameworks and hybrid solutions in which informal entrepreneurs are recognised for their benefits to society.