Hotels urged to end dual pricing scheme
Government eager to lure expats
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is encouraging hotels in Thailand to offer fair packages to expatriates, avoiding price discrimination as the country aims to attract 2 million foreign residents to travel more domestically.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said the ministry urged expatriate associations to travel domestically instead of going abroad, as they may face back-to-back 14-day quarantines when arriving at other destinations and then upon returning to Thailand.
The idea has received some positive feedback from expatriates, but points of concern remain regarding local sentiment towards foreigners during the outbreak and overpriced accommodations.
He said the Tourism Authority of Thailand is working with hoteliers and the Tourism Council of Thailand to ensure expatriates will receive the same hotel rates as locals.
The government does not have any stimulus measures for expatriates.
Mr Phiphat admitted the Tourism and Sports Ministry cannot stop dual pricing at local attractions in the near future as they fall under the purview of different ministries.
He said 2 million expatriates normally take overseas trips, especially to other Southeast Asian countries during holidays, rather than within Thailand.
"If expats who work here travel in Thailand four times during the remainder of the year, that would entail 8 million trips for the tourism industry," Mr Phiphat said.
While residing in Thailand, most expatriates tend to travel with family, play golf and shop, spending 6,000-8,000 baht per day on average, he said. This outlay is almost two times higher than local travellers, who spend around 4,000 baht per day.
Bang Kachao in Samut Prakan, under the supervision of the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration, is a potential destination for expats.
Thailand welcomed 6.69 million international tourists during the first half of this year, a plunge of 66.2% year-on-year, while international receipts dropped by 65.2% to 332 billion baht. He said the number of foreign arrivals will not exceed 9 million this year because of the challenging circumstances, while domestic tourism is expected to tally 80-100 million trips.
"If we can stimulate domestic travel to 120 million trips, it is possible to accomplish this year's goal for tourism revenue of 1.23 trillion baht," said Mr Phiphat.