Photo Credit: TN
Gay Romance TV Shows Bring A Rise To Thailand's Tourism Industry
Thailand’s romantic comedy series “I Told Sunset About You” is a show about gay romance between two young men. The show is shot on location in Phuket and uses actual businesses in the area for the character’s scenes. Tourists from all over Asia who enjoy the show are flocking to the locations. Hence, the rise in tourism since before the pandemic has been a welcome surprise for local Thai business owners.
“I Told Sunset About You” is part of a bigger phenomenon in Asia called the “boys love” genre. Also known as “BL”, BL shows caught on during the pandemic with 43 shows released in 2020 and 2021. With viewership from Japan, Korea, and Vietnam streaming episodes on Youtube and Line TV, fans online have really been the force behind the genre’s rise in popularity.
As Thailand’s travel industry is recovering, their tourism authority is taking full advantage of the show’s acclaim. By creating “Thai BL” booths in Osaka for a recent marketing event since Japan has a high demand for dramas. The Thais have even developed Japanese-language social media accounts profiling locations from pivotal scenes of the show.
Although the popularity of Thai BL shows has equated in profits for the country’s economy, there is still a very conservative community that doesn’t want Thailand to be portrayed as a gay man’s paradise. But since the shows don’t interfere with normal free TV broadcasting, the powers that be are accepting its influence on the economy as the shows air over streaming platforms on mobile devices.
Thailand has currently produced 17 BL series this year alone. And as the shows continue to gain in views, the LGBT community in Southeast Asia hopes this changes the perspective of the people who still aren’t as accepting of their lifestyles.