Foreign visitors get relief from scammers

Foreign visitors get relief from scammers

A travel agency answers questions at a tourism fair.
A travel agency answers questions at a tourism fair.

Foreign tourists can file for compensation from the Tourism Department if they get swindled by registered tour companies that fail to operate as planned or advertised.

"Tourists who get cheated by registered tour companies or tour operators not fulfilling their tour agreements are eligible for compensation from the department," said director-general Anant Wongbenjarat.

All tourists, however, are urged to check whether companies are registered or licensed before travelling or buying packages. This is an important measure to prevent illegal tour operators or non-registered companies from exploiting tourists.

Mr Anant said compensation claims can be made only when registered companies swindle tourists.

The compensation will be paid by the Tourist Business Protection Fund, which was founded under the Tourism and Tourist Guide Business Act and managed by the department.

Under this law, tour operators are required to place security deposits into the fund. The compensation, however, will not exceed total security deposits.

There are four categories of tour operators. Those who operate both inbound and outbound tours are required to deposit 200,000 baht. This amount will increase to 500,000 baht later.

Tour operators with licences to operate only domestic tours are required to place a 50,000-baht security deposit. This will increase to 100,000 baht.

Local tour operators with licences to operate within a province and adjacent provinces are required to pay a 10,000-baht deposit. This will increase to 50,000 baht.

Meanwhile, security deposits for inbound tour operators will be increased to 200,000 baht.

When tourists are cheated, the fund will enable authorities to give expedient financial compensation to tourists who are adversely affected by irresponsible tour companies. The department will later collect the money from the tour operators after the compensation is made. Those who refuse to comply will lose their security deposits and risk not having their licences extended.

Affected tourists can file complaints at the department, located near National Stadium in Bangkok.

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