Asiatique Backs Down on Two Price Policy after Barrage of Criticism on Social Media

December 16, 2012
By

UPDATE: It would seem that as soon as all the fuss died down, Asiatique promptly went back to dual pricing. it’s now 200B for Thais and 250 Baht for foreigners.

A few days ago Asiatique posted on their Facebook page the prices for their new 60 meter high Ferris wheel. As they only posted in the Thai language, I posted a comment with an English translation: 200 Baht for Thais and 250 Baht for foreigners. I also posted another comment asking why they had to have two prices. Other people then joined in calling for a boycott. This resulted in my translation of the ticket prices and subsequent comments being deleted. To top that, they also blocked me from posting again on their Facebook page.

Far from quietening down any further comments, news of my banning spread like wild fire on social media and within a short time there were literally hundreds and hundreds of negative comments against Asiatique. Many people were also calling for a boycott. Asiatique’s response went from saying that the big wheel is built on Thai soil and so Thais deserve a discount to saying that the wheel is operated by “farang” and Asiatique has no control over prices. This morning I noticed that all of the pictures of the big wheel had been removed from their front page as if they wanted to distance themselves from the project.

Today saw even more negative comments being posted on their Facebook page. Particularly after this article in the Bangkok Post “Asiatique public relations disaster?” and another on TripAdvisor. It was interesting to see that it wasn’t only foreigners writing complaints. There were also Thais joining in saying that having two prices was unfair. For Asiatique this was obviously a public relations nightmare. The whole incident had been bungled right from the beginning. The mistake wasn’t in having two prices. The mistake was deleting my translation of the prices and then gagging me so that I couldn’t comment. Or so they thought. I have a few followers of my own.

Now finally comes some great news. After some intense pressure from both the foreign and the Thai community, Asiatique has now backed down. First they unblocked me from posting on Asiatique’s Facebook page. Then came the news that they have spoken with the owners of the big wheel and have decided that there will now be only one price for everyone regardless of race or skin colour. I know the price difference was only 50 Baht, but this is an important step in outlawing dual pricing. After all, if China can do it, why can’t we? At least the practice should be banned in Bangkok where many of the richest Thais live and work.

The new prices are as follows:

• Children (not higher than 120 Centimeters) 150 Baht
• Adult 250 Baht
• Senior citizen (over 60 years old) 125 Baht

As a kind gesture towards all fans of Asiatique, they will also introduce a special price that will be effective from today until 28th February 2013. This will be:

• Children (not higher than 120 Centimeters) 150 Baht
• Adult 200 Baht
• Senior citizen (over 60 years old) 100 Baht

As far as I am concerned, this matter is over. I have no hard feelings with Asiatique. Now that I can easily access their Facebook page I will continue to help promote their attractions and events. In addition, I look forward to going on their Big Wheel next week.

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30 Responses to Asiatique Backs Down on Two Price Policy after Barrage of Criticism on Social Media

  1. Wes
    December 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Well done Richard!!!

  2. Michael B
    December 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I love Thai child prices. So unrealistic – my daughter is only 5 but already 120 cms and therefore has to pay adult fare on this and on the BTS. I don’t understand why they just don’t use age to dictated the childness of a child.

    • Bobby
      December 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Nobody would use their child’s real age then.

    • Richard
      December 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      My daughter is 4 and already over 120cm. Instead of complaining about having to pay an extra 25 baht here and there I’m happy she is growing up strong and healthy.

  3. Sean Snider
    December 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Nice!

  4. Costrelas
    December 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    All’s well that ends well.

    Lets go on promoting Asiatique.

  5. Andrew
    December 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    It’s a shame this had to happen, the damage has been done, though I doubt it will truly hurt their ticket sales. As you point out Richard, it was the lack of experience in dealing with bad press that really did them in, which is symptomatic of business here in Thailand. There are arguments for and against dual pricing, but there is no excuse for a big organisation like this to respond as it did, and even their press statement on FB shows they don’t really understand criticism and the power of the web, they still seem to insinuate that us Farang were out to unfairly defame them in an unlawful way and they were right to block you.

  6. Jared
    December 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    While I would like to say that the matter is settled and that I will visit Asiatique (for the first time) at some point in the near future, I will not due to the reaction of the Asiatique Facebook page admin. Rather than politely state that a mistake was made and would be corrected, blame was squarely placed on foreigners: “…there are many comments criticized by some groups of foreigners, expatriates and some foreigners’ spouses…”

    When discussion continued, particularly in respect to whether or not dual pricing exists in other countries (not in my experience), the admin clearly sided with several Thai posters who wrote negative comments. Most tellingly, he/she actually “liked” a comment from a Naruebase Niyom, who stated “Get ur ass back home” to the foreign posters.

    While I love living and working in Thailand, and plan to spend the remainder of my life here, I sincerely hope that this underlying racism will disperse over time. I’m disheartened by the number of posts claiming that the “falang” shouldn’t complain since it’s “normal” to have dual prices. I’m sorry, but it simply isn’t–not in Egypt, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico or any other country I’ve visited. Nor is it in any way appropriate to criticize people of any nationality when they call such pricing into question.

    Most importantly, if one represents a major company that seeks to attract both Thai and foreign visitors, I find it highly inappropriate that he/she would not gracefully admit that a mistake had been made rather than point fingers and become belligerent toward customers.

  7. Michael Chick
    December 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I wonder which “Poo Yai” was the one who issued the order to shut Mr Barrow out of their FB page ??
    Could they expose “poo Yai” over the Poo-Poo and be relabeled as “Poo Lek” now? or is it “Poo Noi” ??? 5555

  8. December 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Well this ‘public relations disaster’ has certainly given them loads of free publicity – I had never heard of them until this issue came up….
    Now what about all the other places that have the same double pricing system???

  9. December 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Thumbs up Richard! I will continue on my blog (www.siampedia.org) to pinpoint the racist two-level price folks and keep promoting fair destinations and attractions. Happy trails and a joyful holiday season to all!

  10. December 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    But is it really finished ? Will Thai people who will have to pay per adult 50 THB more than previously planned (after February 28) will be so happy with this new fees ? They will probably have to keep the 200 THB price even after February to definitly pacify the situation.

  11. Stantinoskon
    December 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Khao Yai National Park entry fee for ‘falang’ = 400thb. Thai price 40thb.

  12. December 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I’m sorry, but how is their new decision fair?

    So now Thais get gouged as well as farangs, and Asiatique makes even more profit as, let’s face it, most of their customers will always be Thai?

    What would have been fair is to lower the price for farangs so that everyone pays 200 baht. Charging Thais MORE is not fair at all.

    Guess I’m still not visiting Asiatique as it seems to be run by fools.

  13. Ron
    December 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Nice story Rochard but as others have pointed out on here where is the fairness in raising the price for Thai’s rather than reducing the price for foreigners. Dual pricing is a racist policy and should be banned. Here in Pattaya with all the attractions such as Nong Nooch Botranical Garden & Elephant Park, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Dolphin World, Underwater World etc dual pricing is a fact of life. I live in Pattaya and am married to a Thai and have a small child and you can imagine how I felt when going to these place and being charged one price for my wife and child and another extortionate price for me. I have overcome the problem because if I now show my Thai Driving Licence I can get in for Thai prices but I really shouldn’t have to do that. What the Thai community has to realise is that just because we are foreigners doesn’t mean to say we can afford higher prices as often, like myself, we live on a tight budget. Thanfully dual pricing is not evident in the local markets and street vendors who seem to appreciate the custom of foreigners.

  14. Davido
    December 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hello, and thank you for all this information.
    I think the reason Thai is known to apply rates Rates
    why are they simply had to belong to them and their political
    you know I live in France, I was born and overnight you send
    thousands of emigrants who arrived on the same social rights that you believe me
    we no longer feel at home .. priority to native

  15. Reason
    December 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    By your same logic, Richard, it’s racist for foreigners in Thailand to make higher salaries than Thai citizens–which is the obvious case. So maybe what you should be critiquing is capitalism. Second, it seems easy to call a Thai preference price policy racist, when so much of their tax dollars flood into an infrastructure that directly benefits temporary tourists and foreign corporations.

    • Richard Barrow
      December 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      That doesn’t really make sense. Racism? Minimum salary for foreigners is set by the Thai government. I wish my company could pay me less but it cannot. The government wants my tax money. On paper it looks like Thais are getting less but any overtime is paid under the counter so they don’t have to pay tax.

    • Richard
      December 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      I disagree. Companies pay salaries based on the level of experience, skills, education, communication, capabilities etc.

      If a Thai person could provide the same level of these attributes then the company would no doubt hire that Thai as the costs would be lower. The reason the relatively small number of Foreigners in Thailand earn higher wages is because they bring skills and experience that cannot be found in the local workforce.

  16. Mark
    December 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I found out about this after starting to plan to go there… Tried to go to their Facebook page and I just get redirected to the home page…. looks like they don’t like being social.

    is my facebook having a problem or did they delete the whole thing?

    M

  17. Kevin
    December 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    It seems Asiatique may have shut down their FB page. Not sure if its a glitch or if had to do with overwhelming negativity from the expat community. Some of the comments I thought were a bit over the top. For the record I am Thai and don’t agree with dual pricing.

  18. Rene
    December 18, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Hello Richard,
    Just because I couldn’t believe that a company from my country used dual pricing, I contacted DutchWheels and asked for an explanation.
    They told me they design, build and sell ferris wheels, but they do not own or operate them.
    They did sell the ferris wheel to Asiatique, but are certainly not the owner and have nothing to do with the ticket prices.

    This should not come as a surprise because many Thai companies are not afraid to lie just to try to save face.

    Sincerely,
    Rene

  19. คนจน
    December 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Dual pricing is bs. Thailand being Thailand, I can’t see it ever being outlawed.

  20. Richard
    December 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Quote – By your same logic, Richard, it’s racist for foreigners in Thailand to make higher salaries than Thai citizens–which is the obvious case. So maybe what you should be critiquing is capitalism.

    I disagree. Companies pay salaries based on the level of experience, skills, education, communication, capabilities etc.

    If a Thai person could provide the same level of these attributes then the company would no doubt hire that Thai as the costs would be lower. The reason the relatively small number of Foreigners in Thailand earn higher wages is because they bring skills and experience that cannot be found in the local workforce.

  21. Stanley
    December 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Richard,
    I posted about the Asiatique ban a few minutes earlier without seeing this yet. So now they actually increased the Thais’ price from 200 baht to 250 baht and it pleased some foreigners thanks partly to your attention on this matter ?
    I pity the Thai people.

    • Richard Barrow
      December 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      The price is 200 Baht until end of February for everyone. I cannot see them increasing it. Anyway, it isn’t a permanent big wheel. Anyone who wants to go and ride the wheel should go over the new year.

  22. kris
    April 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Funny, went to the ferris wheel during songkran with a Thai friend and they charged me 250 and the thai friend 200 without him even asking for a reduction.
    Seems there are more ways to be handy with pricing policy.

  23. Nicolas
    September 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    I went to the Asiatique a couple of months ago and the dual-pricing policy is back in place. I paid about 400 baht for my ticket while my Thai friend paid 350 baht.

    They only advertise the “Farang” prices though. Thais are told orally at the booth that they can pay 50 baht less.

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