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Monday 24 June 2024

Thailand to crack down on tour scams

Just as Bali is taking a hard line on badly-behaved tourists, Thailand is ready to act on tour scammers.

"Zero dollar tours" focus largely on unsuspecting Chinese travellers and have impacted the reputation of Thailand’s tourism industry.

Tourism minister Sermsak Pongpanich said over the weekend that he has directed the Tourist Police to crack down on the price-dumping tours.

The action comes after President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, raised the matter with the Prime Minister.

Sermsak says there are a large number of unlicensed travel agencies selling cheap loss-leading packages to Thailand where guests are then forced into certain stores during tours and pressurised to buy overpriced goods.

Often, threats are used to pressure tourists to buy, Travel Mole reported. There have also been reports of physical assaults and of groups locked inside a store and only allowed out after spending.

It has been primarily a problem targeting Chinese tour groups but Sermsak says Russian and Indian groups are also being targeting more frequently.

Some tourism industry insiders say the problem is the worst it has been for years.

“This tarnishes Thailand’s image, making the country appear cheap and unsafe,” Sisdivachr said.   

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