A screen showing a woman dancing is pictured inside the Patpong museum's bar at the nightlife and sex trade district, during the coronavirus disease outbreak in Bangkok. Picture: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
A screen showing a woman dancing is pictured inside the Patpong museum's bar at the nightlife and sex trade district, during the coronavirus disease outbreak in Bangkok. Picture: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Will Covid-19 spell the end of sex tourism and famous party destinations?

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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For some travellers, seeking a sexy rendezvous on a holiday is just one of the ways to enjoy their break. 

But, that may be a thing of the past in a coronavirus world where social distancing and the wearing of masks are strictly mandatory. 

Destinations like Thailand, Brazil and Amsterdam have been high on the list of travellers seeking a sex holiday or someone special to keep them company for the duration of the trip. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of these destinations have closed its borders for travel.

 

Amsterdam has been high on the list of travellers seeking a sex holiday, but that all changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels.

The Washington Post recently reported that Amsterdam's historic Red Light District changed dramatically since the lockdown, and locals couldn't be happier.  The streets that were once noisy and bustling become quieter - allowing residents to get to know their neighbours and spend time outdoors. 

Charlotte Schenk, 35, who lives in a residential neighbourhood called Wallen, also known as the red-light district, told the publication that the lockdown brought the community together. 

"It's just lovely. I've lived here five years, and I'm now getting to know neighbours I didn't know I had. They used to blend into the crowd. Now, when the sun is out, people take a chair and sit out front. It's so gezellig," she continues, using the common Dutch adverb that translates to "having a good time together,” she told the publication. 

In Asia, Thailand has been known for its party scene, but the areas in most of the country have been quiet since the lockdown. 

Reuters reported that performers May and Som worry that the city's infamous Patpong red-light district could be very different when health restrictions are lifted and tourists return. 

Yet, they remain optimist and practice daily. 

"This kind of place will be the last to reopen," said May 31. Like Som, she goes only by her Thai nickname.

"Even when it does reopen, customers will be worried about their safety," she told Reuters. 

According to the Asean Post, around 300 000 sex workers were left out of work during Thailand’s State of Emergency.

As the country reopens its tourism offering and considers implementing travel bubbles, it is unclear when the party scene will reopen. 

Modipadi Phoku, a South African travel agent, believes that this is not the end of sex tourism. She believes that the sex tourism industry will be paused, but not phased out in a post-Covid-19 world. 

"Covid-19 might last for a few years, but not forever. The world is adapting to a new normal, which means that the sex tourism industry needs to be paused until the situation improves. 

"I believe that the industry will resume once it's safe to do so as many sex tourism is a big income driver for many destinations. Just like the Spanish flu, a list of things came to a halt, but went back to normal after the pandemic," she said.

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