Government pushes Russian tour operators to standardize prices

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Government tourism regulators called on Russian tour operators to standardize prices and agree on a set of industry standards in order to reverse price and quality cuts that Pattaya officials fear will dampen the city’s biggest growth market.

Bureaucrats from the Department of Tourism Registration and Ministry of Tourism and Sports met with Tourist Police and Pattaya City Hall officials Oct. 11 to encourage tour operators to “get on the same page.”

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (left) tells tour operators to standardize their prices to avoid losing the Russian tourist trade. Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (left) tells tour operators to standardize their prices to avoid losing the Russian tourist trade.

Pricing issues were at the top of the list, with Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome warning tourist agents that increasingly frequent price undercutting could end up killing the Russian goose that laid golden tourism eggs for the city. He cited the case in which illegal Chinese tour operators whose price shenanigans in recent years hurt the quality of Pattaya vacations offered to Chinese tourists, turning off many to the city.

He said Russian operators should agree on a standard average price, which will be governed by the Business Services Division. Anyone found violating the agreement or using unethical tactics to beat out competitors could be turned into the police for prosecution under national business-standards laws.

The mayor warned agents that their customers were not stupid: If visitors coming on an expensive tour package discover other guests at the same resort paid much less, they will be unhappy. Unhappy tourists tell others back home and, in the end, Pattaya loses, he said.