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An online campaign is gaining steam to publicize the common trend of charging foreigners at local tourist attractions as much as 10 times what Thais do.
The timing is especially suitable as the country is still closed to foreign travellers. The tourist sector also depends on domestic travellers for sustainability. This requires hundreds of thousands of expatriates residing in the world and charging taxes year-round.
Foreigners who pay 300 baht to access a national park while Thais pay 30 baht now share their impressions and post-photographic proof on Facebook page 2PriceThailand which has attracted 6,800 members since it was founded on June 16. There's also a companion Twitter account, Two Price Thailand, with 2,100 followers online.
Richard Barrow, a longtime British ex-pat and well-known travel blogger with more than 160,000 followers on Twitter is the brainchild of the Facebook group.
"We don't think it's fair for some tourist attractions to disguise the fact that they have a dual-price system," says Mr Barrow, who is the Facebook page administrator.
The connection is to places posting rates in Thai numerals for Thai tourists, which most foreigners can not understand. As a consequence, they increasing not know that Thai citizen costs even less.
"Our opinion is that if they decide to overburden international visitors by as much as 200 per cent then that's their call. Nevertheless, do not do so in a way that is simultaneously sly and disrespectful, "Mr Barrow added.
"Some Thais and foreigners believe that both the tourist sector and Thailand itself are damaging the reputation of the dual pricing scheme. The Thai people are renowned around the world for their respectful and gracious hospitality. The actions of a couple of tourist attractions damage that reputation.
"As a first move we respectfully seek a consistent pricing structure in Thailand. Still, in the end we hope to see the # 2PriceThailand program repealed.
Some of the Facebook page contributors contend that as year-round citizens and taxpayers, when it comes to traveling throughout the region, they should be handled the same as Thais.
"They weren't aware that we served in Thailand and had Thai partners," Katherine Salmon wrote of her experience at Sa Morakot (Emerald Pool), a common attraction in Krabi, where 20 baht and 200 baht was paid to Thais.
Admission for Thai adults at Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, which straddles Loei, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun, is 40 baht but 500 baht are charged by foreigners.
The Thai and international rates at Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai are 50 and 300 baht, respectively. Christoph Ladisch posted a photo of an English sign that states that concessions used to be applicable to foreigners with a job visa and a driver's license but the scheme was revoked in February 2015.
Not all the news is bad, and there are also numerous posts about destinations which are easier on the wallets of foreigners.
Corina Martin wrote: "Just went to the Phuket Thai Hua Museum in the old town of Phuket, and they offered us a discounted price because we are holders of job permits. We charged 100 baht, not quite the Thai level of 50 but at least higher than 200 baht for international tourists.
"It will be great to adjust their prices only to involve Thais and expats as resident rates. After all, we all pay taxes in here, "she wrote.
The question of two prices was posed during a recent panel discussion at the International Correspondents Club of Thailand on the tourism outlook.
Tanes Petsuwan, Thailand 's Tourism Authority's Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, said he was not pleased with double pricing for visitors. He said he had already discussed the question of the condition in the parks with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
"We should not treat them differently as partners. ... This will be a really appropriate opportunity to improve and get the tourism right, "he added.
Source Bangkok Post