TTR Weekly has reported that Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports will set a minimum tour package price for Chinese tourists at THB1,000 per person, per day.
Bangkok Post opined: “The government’s move to regulate zero-dollar tours from mainland China is necessary, however, more long-term measures are needed to ensure fairness to all concerned.”
MTCO Executive Director Jens Thraenhart welcomes the positive initiative taken by the Thailand Ministry of Tourism and Sports and hopes that the other GMS countries follow the example to make the Mekong region a sustainable tourism destination.
“We are in the business of delivering magical moments that turn into unforgettable memories,” he said. “I hope the new measures will apply across all source markets not just for tour operators who target Chinese travellers, as some reporting would suggest.”
According to Travel Weekly Asia, Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn said the minimum charge is intended to weed out the practice in which Thai tour operators force Chinese tourists to visit certain shops where they are pressured into paying high prices.
Bangkok Post, however, points to tours “operated mostly by Chinese nationals”. “There have been reports that [tour customers] who refuse the additional payments were abandoned in the middle of the trip,” asserted the newspaper.
TTR quoted Tourism Council of Thailand president, Ittirit Kinglek, as saying: “We agreed [with the Ministry] that the minimum standard daily cost of a package should not be below THB1,000; the cost will include hotel, vehicle, tour guide, food, insurance and tax.
“However, the official announcement and details will have to wait until the Bureau of Tourism Business and Guide Registration has gone over the proposals and conclusions.
“The scheme is just one of many measures to help develop the Chinese market and crackdown on zero-dollar tours,” he added.