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TAT counters cheap online tours, aims to lure more Chinese FITs

BANGKOK: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is seeking ways to lure online tour agents (OTAs) away from selling only cheap “low quality” packages, with a revamped focus on attracting more Chinese free, independent travellers (FITs).

tourism, Chinese, economics,

The Phuket News

Monday 5 June 2017, 10:13AM

The move continues the government’s stance on eradicating tours which take advantage of visitors to Thailand, especially group tours from China, said a release issued by TAT last week.

“The (previous) measures have been successful in protecting group tourists, but newer cases of low prices offered by online overseas agents in China have emerged, many aimed at the FIT sector.

“Attempts to address this led to a meeting of Thai tourism industry players in December 2016, which resulted in the formation of the Online Tourism Club (Thailand) in January this year,” the release noted.

The club, comprising 44 tour operators and attractions across Thailand, is working with the TAT and the related public and private agencies to stem the practice of the below quality online prices selling in the FIT market, especially in China.

The sector is perceived as having huge growth potential for Thailand and many FIT travellers search for tickets and deals via online channels.

Club President Nipon Boonmasuwaran said, “Some online travel agents are more interested in increasing website traffic and building databases in order to boost their company’s shareholding values than in offering memorable holidays to tourists planning trips to Thailand.

“By selling lower prices, they have undermined the industry creating unfair conditions for operators. Now, we need to tackle unscrupulous operators targeting FIT travellers,” he added.

C and C Marine

Srisuda Wanapinyosak, the TAT Deputy Governor of Marketing – Asia and South Pacific, said, “The TAT is pleased to extend our assistance by helping to promote the standard pricing of the Club’s members via our communication channels.

“We will also organise road shows to Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, where online Thai tourism operators can meet with operators of 10 major Chinese travel websites to discuss cooperation. They will also sign a memorandum of understanding to demonstrate their commitment to promote fair competition.”

The TAT will promote the initiative by the Online Tourism Club (Thailand) at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2017 as well as through its five offices in China.

During the first four months of this year, Thailand welcomed 12 million visitors, spending around B620 billion, an increase of 4.71% on the same period last year, the TAT reported.

Of those, 7.5 million arrivals came from East Asia, generating B308bn.

China remained the leading source market at about 3.2 million arrivals, generating B161bn in tourism revenue.



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