BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports on Monday warned hotel operators nationwide that they would face being delisted if they were found to raise hotel room rates under the state’s partial subsidy stimulus campaign called “We Travel Together.”
The campaign, designed to boost domestic tourism and the economy hit by the COVID-19, will cover 40 percent of a hotel’s room rate, not exceeding 3,000 baht (about 94.75 U.S. dollars) per night, for each eligible recipient to the partial financial aid, plus a maximum of 600 baht (about 18.95 U.S. dollars) in daily grant for food and other expenditure for consumers.
Already more than 3.6 million people have signed up for the package since online registration began last Wednesday.
The ministry said it has been receiving complaints from consumers and netizens saying that the price-gouging among opportunistic hotels has already begun.
“Any hotel caught price gouging will be scrapped from the program immediately,” said Pipat Ratchakitprakan, the minister of tourism and sports.
“The ministry had received and collected complaints of inflated room rates on the ministry’s website as well as other general websites,” said Pipat.
Local media also picked up quotes from netizens regarding inflated room rates after registering with the tourism promotion campaign.
“It’s more expensive now when you try to register with the tourism promotion campaign. Same day, same room, but different prices. How’s this possible?” A netizen wrote on Facebook.
The Facebook netizen also posted a photo showing the prices of his booked hotel room had gone up after registering with the tourism promotion campaign.
The stimulus campaign is aimed at easing the hardships faced by everyone during the pandemic, therefore hotel operators must not abuse this system, said Pipat.
The minister reckons that the scheme will draw in more registrants this week as there will be a long weekend from July 25 to 28.
Pipat said that if hotel operators are caught gouging the price, the hotel will not only face being de-listed, but also must return all the money received from the government scheme, he said.