Axe to fall on subsidy-cheating tourism operators

Axe to fall on subsidy-cheating tourism operators

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, right, files a complaint with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat at the Royal Thai Police Office in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, right, files a complaint with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat at the Royal Thai Police Office in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand on Wednesday asked police to prosecute operators of 312 hotels and 202 shops for fraud in the government's "We Travel Together" subsidy scheme.

Yuthasak Supasorn filed his complaint with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat at the Royal Thai Police Office. He said the TAT found fraudulent transactions at 312 hotels and 202 shops, and some customers were also involved.

The government initiated the "We Travel Together" scheme to stimulate tourism heavily hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. It paid 40% of room rates for travellers and offered e-vouchers worth 600-900 baht for their daily spending.

Instances of fraud found by the TAT included hoteliers and restauranteurs unusually raising their prices to increase obtained subsidies, and fake hotel bookings -- including at hotels that were no longer open. 

Mr Yuthasak said the government body had to take legal action against those responsible for fraud since there is a second phase of the "We Travel Together" scheme.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the Crime Suppression Division would handle the case because the crimes were committed nationwide.

The people who conspired with fraudulent tourism-related operators and received a share of illicit gains would also face legal action, he said.

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