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Government’s tourism co-payment scheme riddled with alleged fraud

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Government’s tourism co-payment scheme riddled with alleged fraud | The Thaiger

The government’s tourism co-payment scheme has been allegedly riddled with fraud after almost 1,000 business operators have been reported for taking advantage or outright cheating the system.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has lodged a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division involving businesses cheating the We Travel Together or Rao Tiew Duay Kan, campaign.

448 hotels and 486 vendors nationwide, mostly in the southern provinces are accused of swindling 1.7 billion baht from the scheme, by using tricks such as paying people to sign up for the scheme so the cheaters could profit. The issue first came to light in Chaiyaphum, where such tricks were discovered by those wishing to get free money.

But it is unclear how to prevent those from wanting to take advantage of the scheme from doing so. The CSD is working with Krungthai Bank to fix loopholes that would allow people to cheat the scheme, which allows participants to pay only 60% of normal hotel room fares, making the government pay the rest.

Tourists also receive a 600 baht e-voucher for other spending from Friday to Sunday and 900 baht from Monday to Thursday. The government also helps pay 40% of the price of air tickets, up to 3,000 baht per person. So far, 3.5 million people have signed up for the scheme since its commencement in July of 2020.

Meanwhile, economic leaders in Thailand are issuing dire warnings that the 60 year old tourism industry in the country is about to collapse if something isn’t done immediately. But the Covid-19 vaccination programme along with other obstacles that have prevented Thailand from reopening this year, seem to point towards the window of opportunity for saving the economy this year, as closing quickly.

Such new research has shown that this year may be worse than last year for businesses as most that are left standing, have used up the last bit of savings or financial aid with no end in sight to their financial woes.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    As other countries have seen similarly, even allowing for the fraud, schemes like “We Travel Together” and the UK’s “Eat Out to Help Out” make a minimal difference in anything but the very short term.

    It’s putting a sticking plaster on an open chest wound and the money would be better spent elsewhere, instead of by those who can afford to travel and have a holiday while others have to work (if they can).

    So there’s fraud? Inevitable with any of these schemes, and undoubtedly morally wrong, but how much is wasted on administering the scheme and investigating the frauds? The limited funds available would be far better spent on direct subsidies and direct welfare payments instead of on grandiose schemes that are expensive to administer and check, invite fraud, and only benefit a very few.

    • Avatar

      ISSAN JOKE

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      the fraud lies in the fact that farangs have to pay double, is damn well no discrimination ??. You have already accepted the behavior after your years in LOS? I myself will never learn to do it (27 year was enough)

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    On the subject of fraud – latest news from Phuket.
    Phuket Aquaria.
    B890 for tourists. B490 for Thais, however B490 for expats with work permits.
    The Thai price on the sign is in Thai script so that tourists do not know they are being charged more.
    The economic leaders are issuing dire warning that the tourist industry will collapse if something is not done immediately.
    Well they could start by stopping this Thai racket of charging tourists more, and hiding the Thai price.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      So where’s the “fraud”, Toby?

      That’s discrimination, not “fraud”.

      Try going to Venice: €7 for the waterbus for a tourist, €1.30 for a resident; €18 for a tourist to get into the Doge’s Palace, free for residents; €1.50 for a tourist to use public toilets, 25 cents for residents.

      Try getting on the bus in London: if you’re a tourist and a pensioner you pay £1.50 every time you get on a bus; but if you’re a Londoner and a pensioner, it’s free.

      If you’re a student in London, you get a 30% discount on your Oyster card for public transport – but not for students who are tourists, who pay full fare, only for students living in London.

      … and where’s the sign in Thai on London Transport telling Thai tourists they’re being charged more?

      There’s no “fraud” – just discrimination, which isn’t unusual anywhere however much it should be.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:46 pm

        Same old excuses to defend the cheating Thai.
        Well in the West . . .
        Fraud – definitions. One is trickery.
        They put the Thai price in Thai script. That is is trickery, in that the tourist is deceived into thinking they pay the same price as the Thai.
        Thais can read western numerals perfectly well, so why put the Thai price in Thai script?
        This is yet another Thai scam!
        By the way I’ve looked it up. Pensioners have free bus fares all over England, and do not have to be a Londoner AND a pensioner to have free bus rides in London.
        Fares for everyone are published in leaflets and not hidden.
        Get your facts right.
        Where are the fares on Bangkok buses – not shown on the buses. And pensioners have a discount.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 6:16 pm

          I’m not “defending” it or “excusing” it, Toby, simply giving you the easily verifiable facts which you evidently don’t like.

          I’ve literally never seen anywhere here that puts prices (numbers) only in Thai script, but if you can’t read local numbers then that’s ignorance, not fraud – try many countries in the Middle East where numbers are frequently in Arabic script on maps, telephones, etc.

          “By the way I’ve looked it up etc”

          Bollox, Toby, look again.

          If you’re over 60 but not a Londoner you DON’T qualify for a free TfL “Freedom” bus pass and you WON’T get one.

          You’ll qualify for an English National Concessionary Travel Pass if you’re a “pensioner” but ONLY if you’re a resident in England as well – no pass, no discount.

          “Bangkok buses”? More bollox.

          On private buses, discounts sometimes for students in uniform or monks only. On BMTA red, non-a/c, half of them are free for everyone, farang or Thai; on other BMTA buses discounts for Thais over 60.

          On the MRT anyone showing a passport (farang) or ID card (Thai) over 60 CAN get a 50% discount, so can children under 14.

          Try that on the London Underground.

          • Avatar

            James Pate

            Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 9:39 pm

            SRT will give discount to seniors and those with disabilities, regardless of nationality. Most of the time I get offered the discount without asking. I often have to use a cane.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:16 pm

            I am not going through all the examples of Thais putting Thai prices in Thai script to deny the tourist the knowledge that they pay more.
            There is an example, in 2priceThailand that clearly shows a sign with the Thai price in Thai numerals.
            There are many more . . .
            I am not crediting: Well in the middle east … As justification for Thai scams.
            The rest well I cannot be bothered.
            Your information is incorrect. It is not relevant.
            What happens in the west does not excuse what happens in Thailand.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 4:57 am

            I’m not “justifying” or “excusing” anything, Toby, simply presenting facts.

          • Avatar

            bruno

            Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:27 pm

            Issan John you are an idiot and a asshole . thinking you are a thai . troll looser fol and stupid – do you wife tell you what you have to write ? stop all that bulshit. because other cheat then it dont make it more correct your ” friends ” are doing it also . what a way to justify , fucking idiot..

    • Avatar

      Graham Smith

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      555,disgusting thailand with double pricing. And Phuket which is only 95% dependent on tourism. It’s damn ridiculous that they can never comprehend how close they are to going down to kata beach and fishing again, fucking pears! Good luck money horny racists

  3. Avatar

    Patrick Robert Marcel nouvel

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    That Travel together was a great idea, as usual some people turn around the ideas and laws to take profit, anyhow 447 hotels cheated , restaurants the same, but aside from that, how many honest companies saved from bankrupcy and saved jobless numbers of staff have been recorded ?
    The application must be reviewed to go against cheaters then proceed again so that 100 thousands people keep jobs and thousands of companies, hotels and restaurants, as well

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    “ the window of opportunity for saving the economy this year, as closing quickly.” – sure looks that way. Hard to imagine Thailand dropping the quarantine before October or November the earliest. Not many businesses can survive losing most of their revenue for the better part of two years. Maybe it is time to consider prioritizing vaccination of a few tourist areas to try and reopen them sooner? While not perfect it is doable. I would think targeting Phuket and Pattaya would bring the most value per shot. Probably won’t happen, more likely we are seeing the permanent closure of a second third of the Thai tourist industry. It will take 3-5 years to get back to the 2019 levels. It is what it is…

  5. Avatar

    Danish Twirl

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    I hope you never visit the Middle Eastern countries Toby, if you are enraged by the Thai discrimination towards foreigners you will completely lose your rag in the Middle East.

  6. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 1:14 am

    To the millions of foreign tourists that cannot read the foreign language signs….you are all ignorant ! Due to that ignorance, you can’t complain about double pricing apparently. Good to know! 5555

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 5:03 am

      Not even remotely what I said, Patrick K, which was “if you can’t read local numbers then that’s ignorance, not fraud.”

  7. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 11:09 am

    If Judas Iscariot was a Thai, he would have been innocent according to I John.
    And I john would have excused him because he had a a donkey, and two chickens to support.

  8. Avatar

    Amy Sukwan

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve never understood the problem with two tier pricing at national parks and landmarks. They usually wave me through at Nai Yang beach (Sirinat National Park) they know us by now. But a lot of places around the world have a different pricing structure for locals versus others, which is enforced in a variety of ways. Hell The Toledo Zoo used to have a free Mondays for locals program that required an ID card or driver’s license that I took advantage of all of the the time. Admittedly, who in the hell would go to Toledo? That’s different from straight up price gouging like the 6000 baht repair bill on our motorbike I still have sticker shock from…

  9. Avatar

    Dreqo

    Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10:26 am

    The pricing differences are understandable in the case of temporary tourists. They should drop it if a “foreigner” presents a Thai ID or DL to them, as it shows that they’re a long term resident and have likely payed far more VAT than the vast majority of natives.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update

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79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | The Thaiger

Today, the Thai government is reporting 79 new cases of Covid-19, with 65 locally-transmitted, and 14 imported, raising the total to 26,241 since the pandemic began. 1 new death has been reported, raising the total amount of deaths to 85. The new infections, which are now in the double-digits, shows Thailand’s Covid situation as improving according to the assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Panprapa Yongtrakul.

“The two-digit level of new cases found at hospitals and communities shows that the local Covid-19 situation is under control.”

The CCSA reports that 43 of the 65 local infections were found in communities with 22 of the 65 found in hospitals across 4 provinces.

Samut Sakhon province, the source of the second wave of Covid in the Kingdom, reported 77% of the new cases. Of the 50 cases found in the province, 38 were found in communities and 12 were found at hospitals.

Pathum Thani reported 8 new cases, with 3 being found at hospitals, and 5 in the community. Bangkok reported 6 new cases at hospitals and Chon Buri reported 1 infection found at a hospital. 12 of the 14 imported infections were quarantined arrivals from Russia, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Slovenia, South Africa, Germany, Libya and Italy.

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | News by The Thaiger

The other 2 imported cases were that of Thai women, who ellegedly returned from Myanmar illegally through a natural border crossing in Tak province, despite the government closing off natural border crossings after the February coup by the military in Myanmar.

Covid-19 cases rose worldwide by 446,747 over the past 24 hours to 116.21 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 9,955 to 2.58 million. The US still has the most cases at 29.53 million, rising by 68,321 over the past 24 hours, and the most deaths at 533,636, rising by 1,993 over the last 24 hours.

In light of the recent downturn in reported cases, Samut Sakhon has recently reopened 22 of its wet markets. However, the seafood market where the second wave of the Covid outbreak began, is not one of them, and it is not yet known when that might reopen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports

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Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, will chair a meeting on Monday, in which a vaccine passport scheme and potential travel bubbles will be discussed. Anutin says those who’ve been inoculated against Covid-19 will be issued with a book to confirm their vaccination. It’s hoped this will make international travel easier, as well as boosting the public’s confidence and helping life return to some kind of normality.

“The Public Health Ministry is making preparations to bring life back to normal, restore businesses and revive the Thai economy.”

A number of groups and industry representatives have added their voices to growing calls for a vaccine passport policy. The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is urging the government to implement the scheme without further delay, while also calling for private companies in Thailand to be allowed purchase and distribute vaccines.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also pushing for a vaccine passport policy, while the Tourism Ministry has urged the Health Ministry to approve one. Meanwhile the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Foreign Ministry to carry out a study on vaccine passports, adding that the jury is still out as to their effectiveness. They also have their critics, primarily among rights’ groups and doctors, who argue that there is not yet enough evidence that vaccination prevents transmission.

At Monday’s meeting of the National Communicable Diseases Committee, the Anutin-led panel will also discuss the idea of travel bubbles. Thailand has been considering entering into reciprocal travel arrangements with countries with a high take-up of Covid-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, Anutin says the public must continue with the practice of mask-wearing, noting that the number of Thais doing so has recently slipped. He says that recent data shows the number of people wearing masks has dropped below 80%, compared to 90% last month.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Hospital in northern Thailand closes to visitors after 2 patients test positive for Covid-19

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Hospital in northern Thailand closes to visitors after 2 patients test positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Medical News

A hospital in the northern province of Tak has had to shut its doors to visitors after 2 patients treated at the facility subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. Nation Thailand reports that Mae Sot Hospital is now closed to visitors until Monday.

It’s understood that 19 staff members have had contact with 2 patients who tested positive for the virus. Hospital director Thawatchai Setsuppana says the closure is to facilitate a deep clean of the facility and confirmed that a number of medical workers are self-isolating.

“3 doctors, 11 nurses and 5 patient assistants have been ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine.”

Officials are now questioning both patients, in an effort to trace others who may have had contact with them. Tak province is on the border with Myanmar, which has had 142,000 cases of the virus, with 3,200 deaths.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Sukothai, the provincial Public Health Office has confirmed that a Thai national who returned from working at a casino in Myanmar has also tested positive for Covid-19. It’s understood the woman developed symptoms prior to entering Thailand at the border town of Mae Sot on March 1, before taking a bus to her home in order to attend her grandfather’s funeral.

The provincial health office has issued a statement to confirm the timeline of the woman’s movements. It’s understood 17 people had contact with the woman, with 7 of those considered “high-risk”.

“On March 2, she took a Covid-19 test at Sukhothai Hospital and went shopping in Muang district before heading home. She was admitted to Ban Dan Lan Hoi Hospital on March 3 after her test came back positive.”

It is unclear how the woman managed to evade the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Border officials have stepped up patrols in recent weeks, amid fears that Burmese nationals fleeing the violence in Myanmar may attempt to cross illegally into Thailand, bypassing health checks and quarantine.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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