Five hundred hotels across Thailand have been accused of defrauding the government’s subsidized-travel program, but none of them are in Pattaya, the local Tourism Authority of Thailand chief said.
TAT Pattaya Director Kachondej Apicharttrakul said Dec. 18 that no local hotels were among the names sent by TAT headquarters to police in Bangkok to investigate corruption.
He said one reason for that is that Pattaya has hosted a number of large events that have filled hotels on many weekends over the past two months, so operators feel less need to illegally raise rates to collect bigger subsidy payments from the government.
The “We Travel Together” program offers Thai nationals discounts of up to 40 percent on 7 million hotel rooms from July 2020 until May 2021. Hotels cut rates for guests but collect the discounted amount from the government.
Since the inception of the program, unscrupulous hoteliers have been hiking room rates before discounting them to collect larger subsidies.
Other examples of fraud include using fictitious guests, reimbursing “guests” who don’t actually stay in the hotel for room fees, selling rooms online even when the hotel is closed, overbooking hotels to collect subsidies, refunding rooms rates to guests they have no space for, and colluding with actual guests to pay higher rates and refunding them the difference in price, while keeping the larger subsidy.