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Thailand's zero-sum tourism


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Thailand's zero-sum tourism

By Anthony Allison


HUA HIN, Thailand - Thailand will step up efforts to prevent Chinese tourists from being cheated by so-called "zero-dollar tours", the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced.


That's the good news.


The bad news is, this statement was made in August, 2000.


So when Thai authorities recently stated that they would "discuss the problem and draft measures to address the problem", a strain of skepticism was inevitable.


"Zero-dollar" tours derive their name from package tours sold mainly in China, and to a much lesser degree in Korea, which include free air fare and low-cost accommodation. But once the incredulous (and gullible) tourists set foot in the Kingdom, the scam begins.


The groups are herded from one expensive jewelry shop to another, from pricey entertainment joints to expensive restaurants. Not being able to speak Thai, and virtually imprisoned within the group, they are ripped blind.


Unscrupulous tour operators (both Thai and Chinese) and their selected outlets in Thailand reap handsome rewards - one estimate puts the loss to the legitimate tour industry at as much as US$400 million a year. Officials claim that about 90% of Thailand's inbound operators specializing in Chinese tourists are of the "zero-dollar" kind.

Full story at Asia Times

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Happens when they go to Australia as well. Some of them actually believe it costs $100 to go onto Bondi Beach. And they also get put up in squalid motels instead of the promised luxury hotels.

Naturally, they go home with a negative impression of the country.

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  • 8 years later...

Amlo cracks down on zero-dollar firms





Huge zero-dollar tour network grounded, funds frozen




Seems nothing has changed.


At least Section 44 is being applied for something useful!


The # of big tour buses clogging the streets in Pattaya / Bangkok has long been out of control.

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