Double pricing again, again

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Dear Hillary,

I picked up one of those tourist magazines the other day and it had listings of places to go for the tourists, and also for residents. The thing I found so interesting was the prices for these attractions. This was dual pricing, plainly printed for the tourists to see that they were going to pay something like twice the price of the Thais and even more in some cases. I thought it was against the policy to have dual pricing. We certainly don’t have that in the States. What is the real situation?

Elmer

Dear Elmer,

Dual pricing is not something I agree with, but it is found in many countries, not just Thailand. I would also be very amazed if it doesn’t happen somewhere in the US. The original concept was to make the attraction affordable for the Thai people and to get Thai residents to tour their own country, but charge more for the foreign tourists as they can afford higher prices. In countries like Thailand where there is a large discrepancy between foreign tourists’ spending power and that of the local people, I can understand why dual pricing exists, without encouraging it. However, instead of publicly doubling the Thai entrance price, it would be so much better to state one ‘standard’ (foreign) admission price, but offer a 50 percent discount for Thais. This idea of locals getting a 50 percent discount is more understandable than doubling the price for non-Thais. Oh what a lovely bargain! Of course, there will always be the problem of resident ex-pats who will not be happy at being asked to pay foreign tourist prices. For that group, some form of registration of the fact that they are living here should be enough. I know of many who use the Thai driving license as proof.