1,000 baht/day minimum overhead charge set for Chinese tourists

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Effective as of yesterday the lowest overhead charge for a Chinese tourist to be levied by package tour operators is 1,000 baht/day, said Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn on Wednesday.

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The minimum overhead charge for arrivals from China in the form of package tour was made possible by virtue of Section 31 of the Tourism Business and Tour Guide Act B.E. 2551 which stipulates that package tour operators are prohibited from charging their clients below costs, hence, the 1,000-baht/day minimum charge was set.

The minimum charge was intended to weed out the zero-dollar package tours from China which has resulted to several problems such as tourists were taken by Thai tour operators against their will to jewelry shops which overcharge the tourists. The operators, in return, will receive commissions from the sale to recoup their costs.

General Thanasak said that all parties involved in the tourism industry agreed with the invocation of the Act to impose minimum overhead charge for Chinese tourists to weed out zero-dollar package tour business and to improve the quality of tourists from China.

Also, it was agreed at a meeting on Wednesday that, besides the minimum overhead charge of 1,000 baht/day, tour programmes arranged by the operators for the tourists could not be charged more than 600 yuan or about 3,000 baht per trip.

This was intended to prevent the tourists from being cheated or taken advantage of by tour operators, said the deputy prime minister.

All the decisions made on Wednesday will be conveyed to Chinese tour operators in Shanghai on October 14 by a Thai delegation led by General Thanasak in order to convince Chinese tour operators of fair treatment and improved services for Chinese tourists.