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Published on Monday, May 11, 2020

Thai hotels seek government help as TUI Group defers payments






Thailand hotels have slammed travel giant TUI Group which is dragging its feet over outstanding payments for stays completed between January and March.


TUI has informed hoteliers it wants to defer the bulk of payments indefinitely and is asking them to sign new contracts.


Unsurprisingly hotels are incensed.


Hotels are normally paid within 30-60 days after guests check out and TUI says it will pay 25% within 10 days - only after they sign the new contract.


The remainder of the debt is delayed indefinitely with hotels unsure of when they will be paid.


The company says it will be remitted only when TUI's business is back to normal.


Hoteliers now want Thai government officials to intervene.


"We understand tour operators are facing a financial shortfall because of the pandemic, but forcing us to comply with this new contract will rub salt in our wounds as we have also suspended operations and are avoiding layoffs," said Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association.   


A total of a dozen trade associations with affected members are calling on the government to take up the issue and mediate.


"We need government-to-government negotiations to solve this dispute. We already discussed the matter with Tourism Authority of Thailand. We will next submit a co-signed letter to all related agencies such as the Tourism Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to act as mediators, as well as the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce and the German Embassy in Bangkok, to clarify the legitimacy of TUI's action," Bhummikitti.


According to Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of the Thai Hotels Association southern chapter, there are about 2,000 Thai hotels partnering with TUI and they are owed about THB2 billion.


Kongsak plans to take up the matter personally with the Thai Prime Minister.


Although there is room for compromise, the hotel trade views TUI's proposal as borderline illegal as it has not indicated a timeline for paying its outstanding debts.

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