Buddhist temple management for religious tourism: A case study of Tham Khao Roop Chang temple, Songkhla province, Thailand

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Punya Tepsing Kettawa Boonprakarn


The aim of this research was to use qualitative research to investigate temple management for religious tourism at Tham Khao Roop Chang temple, which is situated on the Thai-Malaysian border and supervised by a foreign abbot. Data were collected from related documents and from the field through participant observation and in-depth interviews with 16 key informants consisting of monks, nuns, workers, local residents, the temple committee members, and tourists who were selected using purposive sampling. Specifically, the informants were selected from amongst those who gave the most information and participated in the rituals and activities at the temple or who had been seen in the temple for more than 3 years. Triangulation was a way of assuring the validity of data and conclusions were drawn from a descriptive analysis. It was noted that the temple has beautiful architecture and caves; therefore, its administrative plan emphasizes the maintenance of the environment along with human development based on the principle that humans are the mechanism driving social development. Staff work collaboratively without a fixed management structure, Tasks are assigned to monks, nuns, and workers. The abbot plays an important role as a facilitator and provides Buddhist teaching to heal people’s minds. Direction is traditionally manipulated; no dictatorial power is exercised to control the temple. Only motivation-building strategies are used to encourage people to appreciate the value of Buddhism. Coordination with internal and external parties is maintained through merit makers in the locality and a social network of religious tourists has been created by word of mouth and through social media channels. The abbot applies his Singaporean characteristics to manage the temple focusing on cleanliness and tidiness to maintain the landscape and culture with the aim of making the temple one of the most prominent religious tourist attractions in the region.


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TEPSING, Punya; BOONPRAKARN, Kettawa. Buddhist temple management for religious tourism: A case study of Tham Khao Roop Chang temple, Songkhla province, Thailand. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 40, n. 2, p. 472–479, aug. 2019. ISSN 2452-3151. Available at: <http://kuojs.lib.ku.ac.th/index.php/kjss/article/view/2879>. Date accessed: 22 nov. 2019.
Research articles