The thorny issue of dual pricing has raised its ugly head again, this time with the current offerings for hotels as Thailand slowly winds up its tourism industry again.
Tourism and Sports Ministry, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, is asking hotels to offer “fair packages to expats and resident foreigners, and avoid price discrimination”. He said that there are 2 million foreign residents who would be able to travel domestically at this stage and contribute to a local revival of tourism before the borders are re-opened for general tourism.
The ministry suggested that expats should be encouraged to travel domestically instead of heading out of Thailand for a break as they could face 2 lots of quarantine, at their overseas destination and then again when they return to Thailand. That’s even if they’d be allowed back into the country at this stage.
Expat associations shared their concerns about local sentiment towards foreigners during the Covid-19 outbreak and overpriced accommodations noting that there had been numerous reports about price-gouging, refusal of entry for foreigners and ongoing misinformation about foreigners being ‘responsible’ for bringing Covid into the country.
Minister Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will continue to work with hoteliers and travel associations to “ensure expats will receive the same hotel rates as locals”. But he admitted that his Ministry is unable to stop dual pricing in the near future as the issue falls under different ministries. Dual pricing at attractions and some restaurants has been a common practice for decades.
Although the Thai government has rolled out an extensive stimulus package to encourage Thais to travel at this time, there is no similar measure to encourage resident expats and travellers.
In the past 2 million expats would normally take overseas trips, especially to nearby ASEAN countries for their holidays, rather than travelling in Thailand. Thailand welcomed 6.69 million international tourists during the first six months of 2020 (mostly in the first quarter), a drop of 66% year-on-year.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post