Published on : Thursday, June 1, 2017
Some 44 travel companies and attraction operators have worked closely with the tourism authority of Thailand to manage online operators selling extremely inexpensive tour packages to free independent travellers (FIT) from China. In January of this year, they formed the Online Tourism Club (OTC), aiming to seek ways to control online tour operators from selling these cheap packages as well as protecting the Thai tourism industry from being affected by price wars. During the first quarter this year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) found that 2,664 local and Chinese websites sold tour packages to Thailand at very cheap prices to lure Chinese FITs to visit Thailand.
OTC president Nipon Boonmasuwanran said the club is now working with the TAT to try to control this unsuitable behavior. Online sites in both China and Thailand offer very cheap tour packages to users in mainland China to boost traffic on their websites.
They use these tour packages to get customer information and build their companies’ reputations before seeking to list on the stock market in China. Some want to put their companies up for sale to profit when they have 1 million customers and 1 billion Yuan in sales.
“It’s unfair to tour operators selling standard packages. The price war is killing the entire tourism industry, so we need to ease the problem arising from unscrupulous operators targeting FITs,” Nipon said. Online travel companies in China and Thailand can sell admittance to Thai attractions and services from Thai land travel operators at standard prices. However, some prefer to cut the service fees to rake in a large number of clients rather than offer impressive tour experiences, said Mr Nipon.