A political economy of Asian sex tourism

David Leheny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Sex represents an important tourism attraction for many developing countries. Like all markets, however, sex tourism is both an economic and political phenomenon. It cannot exist without sources of demand, where these types of transactions are considered to be socially and politically legitimate. In the case of Japanese sex tourism to Thailand, the market has been rocked by the development of greater women's rights in Japan. This has shifted the economic constraints on Thai policymakers, who are now confronted with a lucrative demand source that is increasingly avoiding sex destinations. As social movements change Japanese consumer choices and investment strategies, they affect genderized notions of the masculine "high politics" of international finance and economic development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-384
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Japan
  • Thailand
  • identity
  • investment
  • sex tourism
  • soft power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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