Editor’s Post: Day of reckoning

February 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 3 February 2017: I could be accused of harping on about zero-dollar tours, beating the subject dry, but it’s been around a long, long time, probably longer than we care to imagine.

In 1976, I wrote my first account of zero-dollar tourism in Thailand, while working for the Bangkok Post. The zero-dollar tour business model was a topic for a slow news day along with the second airport project in the swampland of Nong Ngu Hao and a pie-in-the-sky train dream.

Taiwanese and Hong Kong tour operators were the culprits in those bad old days, but the business model was almost the same. Guides queued to present their bids to lead a tour. They lived off the commissions that more than compensated them for the pay off to the overseas supplier. Read more

Bank survey backs zero-dollar crackdown

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand, Trade Talk

BANGKOK, 2 February 2017: Most Chinese tourists travelling to Thailand agree with Thailand’s clampdown on zero-dollar tours reasoning it could raise the country’s tourism quality and encourage more travel options, according to Kasikorn Research Centre survey.

The bank’s survey showed that 83.4% of Chinese tourists interviewed in the survey supported the crackdown and thought it would benefit Thailand’s tourism in the long-run.

And another 15% of respondents, while agreeing with the crackdown, were not sure of the outcome. Read more

Agents close 2016 3% ahead

January 18, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand, Trade Talk

BANGKOK, 18 January 2017: Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 5,377,843 travellers, January to December, last year, at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports representing a 3.04% increase from 5,219,066 in 2015.

ATTA released its data, last week, based on fees member agencies pay to the two airports to provide a meet-and-greet service for international clients, but limited to travel through Bangkok.

The association president, Charoen Wangananont, said ASEAN and Asia continue to be major suppliers for Thailand’s inbound tour companies. Read more

Thailand’s visits will surpass 32 million

December 22, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 22 December 2016:Tourism Council of Thailand estimates Thailand will close this year with a record 32.51 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 8.80% when compared with 2015.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, TCT president, Ittirit Kinglek, said the country’s tourism revenue would close at THB1.67 trillion this year, up 15.23% over last year.

The year-end inbound market revenue would achieve the country’s target of THB1.62 trillion from an overall projection of THB2.48 trillion. Read more

ATTA agents enjoying a good year

November 14, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand, Trade Talk

BANGKOK, 14 November 2016: Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 4,732,976 travellers, January to October, this year, at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports representing a 9.63% increase from 4,317,291 during the same period last year.

ATTA released its data, last week, based on fees member agencies pay to the two airports to provide meet-and-greet services for international clients, but limited to travel through Bangkok.

The association president, Charoen Wangananont, said the crackdown on zero-dollar tour impacted directly on the China market, however,  the market still remains positive.   Read more

Bid to end Zero-dollar tours

October 25, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 21 October 2016: Association of Thai Travel Agents says the country tour operators dealing with the China market should adjust their business model and offer tours that comply with government policy and its crackdown on zero-dollar tours in the Chinese market.

Speaking at the association monthly meeting, last Thursday, ATTA vice president Surawat Akaraworamat said the Committee of Tourism Business and Guide has recently issued a regulation of a minimum standard daily cost of a package at THB1,000 for Chinese tour groups.

“The announcement sets the minimum standard daily cost of a package for Chinese tour groups should not be below THB1,000 per person per night…however, it didn’t specify what the daily cost should include. It just informs that the minimum price should not go below the issue rate.” Read more

Bank reconsiders China tally

September 30, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 30 September 2016: Kasikorn Research Centre says Thailand remains a top destination for Chinese travellers despite the zero dollar controversy.

The bank forecasts 9 million visits, this year, which is a million below the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ forecast of 10 million trips this year.

The bank’s think-tank unit conducted a survey interviewing 400 Chinese travellers at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, 15 August to 15 September, to assess market trends. Read more

ATTA calls for more time

September 19, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand, Travel Trade

BANGKOK, 19 September 2016: Association of Thai Travel Agents has asked the government for more time to allow tour operators to come to terms with a crackdown on zero-dollar tours.

Speaking at a conference focusing on zero dollars tourism, last week, ATTA vice president, Somchai Chomraka, said the association agreed with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ policy, but asked for more clarity on regulations.

ATTA claims that only a few of its members are guilty of organising tours that could be defined as zero-dollar tourism, but many of its members benefit from the free use of buses and commuter vans owned by gem stores and have reaped handsome profits from shopping commissions in the past.  Read more

Chinese way in business

July 10, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 10 July 2015: Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul says it is difficult to enforce a crackdown on Chinese zero-dollar tours because it is a Chinese-style of doing business with examples existing in several other countries, not just Thailand.

Talking to local reporters on Wednesday, the tourism minister said: “We need to understand that the zero-dollar tours are a Chinese-style business model used for tours to many countries”.

“The operators gain a profit from selling additional options. In this part, we could not try to modify the behaviour of Chinese tourists.”

Read more