The Thai government has come up with a novel idea to get more tourists to visit their country and accelerate the recovery of its hospitality sector.
The government now suggests that hotels should raise prices for non-Thais while keeping lower prices available only for its citizens.
Here’s an excerpt from the Bangkok Post:
Foreign tourists may soon find Thailand a more expensive destination than in the past two years with the country now planning to raise hotel rates to pre-pandemic levels to support a faster recovery of the industry.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to ask hotel operators to implement a dual-tariff structure under which foreign visitors may be charged rates similar to pre-pandemic days while locals may continue to enjoy discounted rates, Traisuree Taisaranakul, a government spokeswoman said in a statement on Wednesday.
Hotels in tourism hotspots such as Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui continue to offer huge discounts to draw back visitors after the pandemic pushed room occupancy rates to about 30%.
While there was no immediate response to the proposal from hotel operators, the ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will soon hold talks with the Hotel Association of Thailand about the dual pricing plan, according to Ms Traisuree.
The hotel rates in Thailand were low when I was in the country in September 2021. The rates, however, in April and May were much higher, although perhaps 10% to 20% lower than in late 2019.
Part of the reason for the higher prices has been the Thai government voucher scheme that has offered rebates for Thai nationals for staying at hotels around Thailand, and hotels quickly increased their rates.
There is already dual pricing in place for many of the parks and museums around Thailand that are many times more expensive for non-Thais to enter,
However, I am not sure if this dual pricing for hotels will work out? If the hotel prices are 50 to 70% less in Malaysia and Indonesia compared to Thailand, where does the Thai government believe the tourist will go?
The number of incoming tourists to Thailand is expected to be more than 75% less than compared in 2019 at roughly 9 million or so. The country earlier this year decided to go after visitors from India. I am unsure how well this will go with their intention of charging higher prices?