Despite warnings issued for the past five months, hotels across Thailand continue to raise rates to defraud the government’s subsidized-tourism program, gouging guests in the process.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn on Dec. 4 reiterated earlier Tourism and Sport Ministry admonishments to hotel operators against raising rates to grab more of the government subsidies available under “We Travel Together” campaign.
Just a week after the program began July 15, Tourism Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn vowed that hotels gouging guests and defrauding the government would be banned from future tourism-stimulus programs.
Yuthasak said nothing has changed. “Such cases are not difficult to investigate. If prices are increased from 1,800 baht a night to 7,500 baht it is obviously a crime, “The subsidy money is from people’s taxes. Therefore we must together help to solve this crisis. Moreover, the room rates must be appropriate for both Thai and foreign tourists.”
“We Travel Together” offers Thai nationals up to 40 percent off 5 million room nights as a way to stimulate domestic tourism. Guests pay the discounted rate and the government pays the difference between that and the regular price.
Officials have said that any hotel caught price gouging to take advantage of the 40 percent subsidy will be removed from the campaign immediately and be banned from joining other future promotions.
Danucha Pitchanan, secretary of National Economic and Social Development Council, said travelers who feel they’ve been ripped off should report hotels to the council or Finance Ministry.