Thailand Cracks Down on ‘Price-dumping Tours’ to Protect Tourism Industry

Tourists photograph the beauty of Wat Arun's prang, a landmark of Bangkok, in the evening on June 15, 2024 (Khaosod Photo/ Narin Niempradit)

BANGKOK  — The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has tried hard to deal with the “Price-dumping Tours” problem, which copies the zero-dollar tour model that Chinese companies use with Thai nominees.

Sermsak Pongpanich, Minister of Tourism and Sports, stated this week that he has directed the Department of Tourism and the Tourist Police to urgently address this problem, after President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

Sisdivachr pointed out that the tactics of price dumping tours could monopolize the tourism industry, which contributes 12% to Thailand’s GDP. The scam damages Thailand’s reputation and deprives the government of tax revenue.

He stated that unlicensed operators, posing as locals, offer cheap packages but force tourists to buy overpriced goods from specific stores, harming Thailand’s tourism image and local businesses. This practice, previously affecting Chinese tourists, now targets Russians and Indians as well.



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As a result, the Department of Tourism has established the Joint Operations Center to tackle this issue, collaborating with five relevant agencies: the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Department of Business Development, the Department of Special Investigation, the Tourist Police Bureau, and the Immigration Bureau.

Over the past 6 months, the Department of Tourism, through its center, has accelerated inspections in all tourist areas to bring offenders to justice without exception. From inspecting over 30 tour businesses, violations were found, resulting in the revocation of licenses and closure of 10 companies.

Thai nationals who act as nominees will be banned from operating tour businesses for 5 years and will be punished under the law on foreign business operations. Both the nominees and the foreigners involved will face imprisonment.

Furthermore, legal action has been extended to over 10 foreigners who were illegally working as unlicensed tour guides for these companies. The department plans to inspect more suspicious operators and urges the public to report any violations by calling 02-141-3264 or 02-141-3119.

The government has a policy to fully drive the tourism sector, with a goal to generate total tourism revenue this year of 3.5 trillion baht, increased from the original revenue target of 3 trillion baht, aiming for Thailand to become a regional tourism hub and a destination for tourists worldwide.


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