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Hundreds of tourism operators face fraud charges for allegedly cheating subsidy scheme

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PHOTO: Siamrath

Hundreds of tourism operators face fraud charges for allegedly cheating the government’s “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme which was intended to help tourism businesses financially hit by the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate travel.

Instead of lowering prices to draw in more travellers, some hoteliers and restaurateurs allegedly raised their prices to get more subsidies. The scheme paid 40% of room rates for travellers and offered e-vouchers worth 600 baht to 900 baht for a traveller’s daily spending. Apparently, there were even fake hotel bookings, including from hotels that were no longer open, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops as well as a few customers. He met with deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat to report evidence of fraudulent transactions and ask police to prosecute the tourism operators. The government is preparing a second phase of the “We Travel Together” scheme and Yuthasak says legal action needed to be taken before the second phase is launched.

The Crime Suppression Division will investigate the case, Damrongsak says.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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