He said he preferred to see quality rather than quantity in the effort to help the country’s tourism industry.
Speaking on his “Returning happiness to the people” TV broadcast last night, Gen Prayut addressed the zero-dollar tourism saying the country did not fully earn from such operation but it was the operators in the country of origin that the tourists come from will benefit.
They brought in tourists and hand over them to local tour companies to take care of without payimg any tour fare which comprises transportation, accommodation, food, sightseeing packages, and etc to Thai tour companies.
In addition tourists were taken to shop at their nominee shops which overcharged them.
They brought them to buy jewellery, local merchandises such as leather ware, handicrafts, at 10-100 times higher than actual prices.
They have nominees in hotel, restaurant, tour bus to service tourists, Gen Prayut said and added that all these business nominees are in the business network of these zero-dollar business operators who have backing from politicians and influential people.
Sometimes these business nominees forcibly required tourists to buy additional tour packages such as elephant riding, river rafting. If tourists refused, these business nominees would turn off bus air-conditioning, hold their passports or park their buses idly to pressure them to buy additional packages.
He said such practices had spoiled the image of the country’s tourism, and negatively hurt business of Thai operators no matter they be hotel, restaurant, and souvenir shops. They are gradually shutting their business after they could not complete with these business nominees.
Consequently, he said this has discredited the country’s tourism reputation and made tourists boring and scared them away.
Gen Prayut then emphasized the need for quality rather than quantity of tourists to improve the image with ongoing effort of his government to clamp down on zero-dollar tour in order to promote quality tourism in the country.
He said the target of 2.3 trillion baht from tourism this year would be achieved if all these problems are resolved.