Fraudulent agents prompt tighter controls in Thailand

Following a recent series of travel scams and agent malpractice that made the national headlines, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) warns that it will impose further penalties on errant agents in the country.

Most recently, an illegal Chinese tour guide left a group of Mongolian tourists stranded in Phang Nga after they refused to pay an additional guide fee of 9,000 baht (US$261.70).

Tourists at James Bond Island, Phuket

ATTA’s new president Vichit Prakobgosol told TTG Asia that the association will cooperate with Thai authorities and revoke membership of travel agents found to have committed similar violations. It also plans to control overpricing where additional guide fees exceed 3,000 baht.

The recent incidents are unlikely to taint Thailand’s reputation in China, and Vichit foresees healthy demand from the Chinese market this year.

Moreover, there is an anticipated increase in regular and charter flights from China to Thailand. Approximately 9.5 million Chinese tourists are expected in Thailand, with the number potentially hitting 10 million if the government provides more supportive measures, Vichit added.

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