Hotel rooms

Government plans to charge foreigners more than Thais for hotel rooms

A man speaks to hotel concierges at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on July 1, 2022. The Ministry of Tourism plans to ask hoteliers to set up a dual rate structure under which foreign visitors may be charged similar fares to pre-pandemic days while locals can continue to enjoy reduced fares. (AFP)

Overseas tourists may soon find Thailand a more expensive destination than in the past two years, with the country now planning to raise hotel rates to pre-pandemic levels to support a faster industry recovery.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to ask hoteliers to implement a dual pricing plan under which foreign visitors could be charged similar rates to pre-pandemic days while locals could continue to enjoy reduced rates , Traisuree Taisaranakul, a government spokesperson, said on Wednesday.

“It’s about maintaining our pricing and service standards for overseas tourists, which affects the perception of the country’s tourism brand,” Ms Traisuree said. “Fares that have been reduced during Covid-19 will be maintained for Thais to support the momentum of domestic tourism.”

Hotels in tourist hotspots such as Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui continue to offer huge discounts to attract visitors after the pandemic pushed room occupancy rates to around 30%.

Although there was no immediate response to the hotel operators’ proposal, the Ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will soon hold talks with the Hotel Association of Thailand regarding the dual pricing plan, according to Ms. Traisuree.

While the country has removed all Covid-related travel restrictions, the tourism sector is still reeling from the heavy losses accumulated during the pandemic. The government expects 9.3 million foreign arrivals this year, a fraction of the 40 million tourists who arrived in 2019.

It was not immediately clear how the government’s new plan to attract more foreign tourists to Thailand – by raising prices and charging them more than Thais – would impact foreigners living in the kingdom.

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