Tourism Authority Of Thailand – Thailand Travel Expo Ripoff
Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in TAT, Thailand

Every year the Tourism Authority of Thailand sponsors the Thailand Travel Expo in Bangkok at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) and it looks like one of the tour operators ripped off thousands of potential tourists.

These conventions, sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, serve special hotel deals for Bangkokians or anyone else that can get Bangkok and take advantage.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Phu Pranang Resort and Spa

Tourism Authority of Thailand Phu Pranang Resort and Spa

One would think that Thai Government Agency like the Tourism Authority of Thailand would be responsible and maybe even have some sort of insurance in case one of the TAT licensed companies rips off tourists.

But, no, the Thai Government Official propaganda website reported the story and failed to mention that the hotel/resort packages were purchased at a Tourism Authority of Thailand sponsored event.

From the initial information gathered, more than 5,000 customers bought the package through various channels. One tourist said he found when he arrived at the hotel that there was no room reserved under his name.

So what do the brilliant Thai Government officials at the Tourism Authority of Thailand recommend to those who got scammed?

Officers from the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s provincial office suggested the alleged victims press charges and lodge a formal complaint with the provincial authority to punish the entrepreneur and seek compensation for the damage.

Why not sue the Tourism Authority of Thailand too?

Instead of accepting responsibility for the 100 or 200 that lodged complaints, or the 5,000 packages sold but not all complaints are in, the Tourism Authority of Thailand just wants the people to complain to the provincial authority.

The Krabi resort case raises fair fears – fears that this will just add another scam to the long list of scams already prevalent in Thailand.

Total damages come to around 10 million baht, according to estimates by the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Krabi office. On Sunday, TAT’s Krabi office took the tourists to file complaints with MuangKrabi police against Phu Pranang Travel for alleged fraud.

It appears that the ripped off tourists wen to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Office and TAT just shuffled them off to the police.

More than 5,000 hotel packages at Phu Pranang Resort and Spa were sold by Phu Pranang Travel. Both the hotel and travel agents have the same owner.

Conflict of Interest?

PK Exhibition, the organiser of Thailand Travel Expo, accepted that Phu Pranang Travel joined its fair in September last year at the Queen Sirikit National Conference Centre along with other travel companies . It claimed it selected tour operators and hotels to join the fair by checking their travel agency business licences.

These are “licenses” that the Tourism Authority of Thailand issues for an annual fee and I have never seen anywhere what TAT does with the money.

However, PK Exhibition said checking only the licence is not enough. Consumers should check the backgrounds of travel agents from popular websites such as Pantip or call the Department of Tourism’s information centre to see if the tour company they want is on a blacklist, said managing director Krit Patarapal.

Pantip?  A website forum for Thais?  Why not go to a real travel site like TripAdvisor, a partner of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, for some honest reviews.  Or, in this case, people would see that the hotel is not even listed by TripAdvisor, Booking.com, or Zizzee.com.  Not a good sign.

So, the Thailand Minster of Tourism and Sports has stepped in to assist the Tourism Authority of Thailand by pretending to care.

The government should take serious action against tour operators who have cheated consumers, says Yutthachai Soonthronrattanavate, president of the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT).

And, against jewelry scam artists, jet-ski scams, motorcycle rental scams, etc. but those are generally against foreign tourists and this time the victims were Bangkokians.

Yutthachai said this was evidently a liquidity problem suffered by this one operator, and the incident had not hurt tourists’ confidence or the wider industry so far. However, the government should see to it that such problems do not occur again. Laws should be more tightly enforced and wrongdoers punished as a lesson to others.

I always love when big shot Officials have an answer before any investigating is done.  And, he also knows that this will not damage the precious image of Thailand.  Another dumbass.

He suggested that the government should issue certificates to qualified operators to guarantee their service to boost consumers’ confidence before they decide to buy.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand already issues TAT license numbers, but they don’t guarantee anything.

“It’s hard to check how bad a tour agency is. For other products, especially in housing, consumers can check the company profile and also investigate the house quality before deciding to buy it for millions of baht. But for a tourism product, it does not make sense to check out a tour company when the consumer is only putting out Bt2,000,” he said.

Yep, this person is definitely a dumb-ass and has no idea how people book their travel.  I do some serious investigating, reading reviews, looking at videos and images and I am only booking a place that is less than 1,000 baht.

Suwat Sidhilaw, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said tourism licence fees in the provinces were currently too low, only Bt10,000, which tempted unqualified people to jump into the business. He said he would discuss this issue with tourism operators in the near future.

So, there you have it – the solution to this problem.  The Tourism Authority of Thailand will raise the fees.

Krit Patarapal, managing director of PK Exhibition Co, which organised the Thailand Travel Expo, said he was unhappy with what happened in the Phupranang case, but it would serve as a reminder for PK when it holds the next fair, and it would be careful to avoid such problems.

There you go.  I am sure that the 5,000 people that got ripped off feel much better knowing that the company that organized the Thailand Travel Expo for the Tourism Authority of Thailand is unhappy.

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