Thais Oppose Zero-Dollar Tours

Thais Oppose Zero-Dollar ToursThais Oppose Zero-Dollar Tours

An opinion poll carried out by Thailand’s National Institute for Development Administration showed that a majority of people believe the so-called “zero-dollar tours” are damaging the image of Thai tourism, causing a loss of revenue and destruction of natural resources.

The poll was conducted on July 10-12 involving 1,268 people aged 18 and above of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country in the wake of a July 5 boat tragedy in Phuket that led to the deaths of 47 Chinese tourists and scores of injuries. The Chinese tourists were said to be traveling with a “zero-dollar tour” package, the Bangkok Post reported.

The term applies to a scheme in which tourists are tricked into buying cheap tour packages in China, only to find their expenses become greater once they arrive in Thailand. Instead of dealing with the travel agencies they bought the package from, they are transferred to other companies operating in Thailand that are associated with their “zero-dollar” counterparts. The tourists are often pressured into purchasing expensive products or services by these secondary companies.

Asked how Thai tourism has been affected by zero-dollar tours, 17.59% of respondents said it has been greatly affected and 58.36% said it has been affected in terms of tourism image, revenue losses and destruction of natural resources.

Asked to provide one or more suggestions on how to deal with zero-dollar tours, the suggestions from the respondents include imposition of harsher laws and penalties on tour companies (56.78%); suspension of licenses of tour companies involved (27.68%); and restriction of the number of “zero-dollar” tour companies (26.74%).




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