The next phase of Thailand’s travel subsidy promotion has been suspended after officials uncovered widespread scams.
New registrations for the second phase of the We Travel Together campaign, which was due to begin this week, has been paused.
The domestic tourism campaign launched in July to spur travel bookings as international borders remained closed.
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the agency had received many complaints, and more than 500 hotels and shops participating in the campaign had been abusing the system.
According to media reports, scams included hotel room rate price gouging to claim higher government subsidies, as well as fake hotel bookings.
Some hotels are said to have bumped up their room rates seven-fold to claim higher subsidies back from the government.
There were also hotels that are not even open for business due to the pandemic but created ‘ghost’ bookings to claim subsidies.
Under the We Travel Together campaign, the government subsidises 40% for hotel accommodation for stays up to five nights.
Subsidies were also available for dining and shopping.
“We don’t know when it will be reintroduced yet. We will take legal actions to the fullest,” Yuthasak said.