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For most tourists and even ex-pats in Thailand, being charged more than the locals and even being ripped off is par for the course. Thailand has long had a reputation for dual pricing, some accept it, some put up with it and some are downright fed up with it.
The dual pricing strategy adopted in Thailand probably emerged when ‘rich’ tourists started to visit the islands and the locals figured it was fair game to just add on a few % as a measure of enforced goodwill from the visitors.
However last week social media went wild when an American born Thai was charged 200 baht to visit the Emerald Pool while his Thai born friends only had to pay 20 baht, his story got a lot of heat on social networking sites and the question of dual pricing has once again hit the headlines. The Bangkok post published an opinion piece stating that two tier pricing is bad for the country and its image.
Visitors often comment on the dual pricing in national parks although some attractions cleverly write their pricing policy in Thai script so visitors are not even aware they are paying way more than locals. This policy has been deemed as devious by many. And although some ex-pats find that if they flash their work permits then they will get local rates most people seem to feel that dual pricing is just bang out of order, even if visitors to the Kingdom are being charged more under the often used excuse by the locals, they do not pay income tax.
Recently one Koh Samui ex-pat posted his disgust on his Facebook page when he discovered the Extreme elevator (which we assume is part of the XD Theatre experience) was blatantly priced 150 baht for Thai’s and 250 for Farang!
With the onset of social media and far more stories relating to Thailand’s image going viral around the world, whether it’s the high profile Koh Tao murder case, cases of husbands being cheated out of their life savings by Thai wives and girlfriends or tourists getting involved in a ruckus with bouncers in Phuket, it is clear the message going out to the masses is not a good one.
Perhaps now with the transparency the internet brings it is time for Thailand to take a good long look at its dual pricing police that some even consider to be racist and start asking itself just what sort of image it is it wants to portray in the global marketplace of tourism!