Dual pricing for Phuket Laguna Triathlon

Dual pricing for Phuket Laguna Triathlon


I can understand to an extent dual pricing at tourist attractions. This has been going on for a while. But, is it really necessary to do this at marathons and triathlons as well? This is what is happening at the upcoming “Challenge Laguna Triathlon” and “The Laguna Phuket Triathlon”.  The former is 3,000 Baht for Thai nationals and 7,750 Baht (plus 5% fee) for foreigners. The later race is 2,500 Baht for Thais and 6,000 Baht for foreigners. Obviously they are ashamed that they are charging foreigners more money as on their website they hide the real price by using Thai numerals. This is mainly used when business people want to hide dual pricing. Normally, prices in shops use the more common Arabic numbers.

This was brought to my attention by Vincent who had this to say: “The Bangkok Triathlon have been thoughtful in the fact they give
expats the same entry fee as Thai nationals, allowing lower income earners who pay tax in Thailand to participate. For Challenge and Laguna Phuket, I have many expat friends (mainly teaching) who find this fee to be out of their price range.” What do you think about this? Is it fair to have two prices based on the colour of your skin?

Website: http://www.challengelagunaphuket.com/ & Facebook

29 thoughts on “Dual pricing for Phuket Laguna Triathlon

  1. Of course! Foreigners are larger, they smell bad and are noisy. The fairest solution would be for foreigners to pay the higher fee and then stay home 😉

  2. I believe it is unfair (as I have said before in the Ferris Wheel post) but then I come from South Africa where we have seen the error of our ways in basing decisions on skin colour. However, I think that as individuals & organizations are allowed to charge how they want to we should trust athletes to eventually figure it all out and decide by themselves whether they want to support such an event or not. History on the African continent has shown that each and every one of us is smart enough to eventually steer clear of the bad apples in the bowl. And then the fruit shop just closes down all by itself. Thank you for making the facts known. And I also can not help but wonder how the caucasian employees of the sponsors (like Thai Airways, Coca Cola, et al) must feel paying the higher price.

  3. It’s interesting, I agree with dual pricing issues but I also know that when these races set their pricing… it is at an international level for an international event.

    Then all (or maybe many) locals complain the cannot afford to enter, because they get Thai wage levels.

    All of the promoters don’t want to reduce the prices but the do want to see more involvement from locals, so they give into these constant request for local priced entry fees.

    Trust me they want them to international event standard prices.

  4. Dear Richard,

    as the race director of the Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest I would like to clarify a few points about our pricing policy. It’s actually not that the foreign athletes are paying more, it’s that the locals are paying less or a discounted fee. The entry fee is in line with other Challenge races in the world and so is the service and standard of race organization and hence the cost of putting on the event. If we were to charge the full entry fees to locals we would price 90% of them out of the race and we would have a very hard time receiving the local support from the government, police and other agencies to put on the race. If we charged everyone the local rate, there wouldn’t be an event because there wouldn’t be enough income to cover the costs.

    I know a lot of the local guys and many are my friends so I know that they got into the sport because of having an event of the stature of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon now the Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest on their doorstep. Many of their friends and family volunteer for the event. They work in the hotels or as taxi drivers and they don’t ride the fancy bikes that everyone else has. If they had to pay the full entry fee they wouldn’t race. How do you think they will feel about the event in their own backyard pricing them out?

    You may think you are advocating equality while you are actually advocating elitism, an image that triathlon unfortunately already has to some degree and which would be reinforced if we did what you suggested.

    I have had discussions with many athletes over the years about this very issue and the large majority accepted the reasons I gave them which were the same reasons I gave you.

    Best regards,

    Roman Floesser
    Race Director
    Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest

    1. Dear Roman,

      A well thought out reason that was well communicated.

      Would a better approach not have been to have a tiered pricing system where the hotel employees and taxi drivers of China, the USA, Europe and the Middle east pay the same as the Thais? And possibly the same local price can apply to all Greeks, Spanish, Cypriots and the Irish. And how about some assistance with their flights to Thailand?

      I have a feeling the Thai middle and upper class will understand your argument and be happy to pay the same as their foreign compatriots.

      My Thai friends, which I have cultivated over the ten years living in Thailand, tell me they find it offensive when treated as people that need handouts and subsidies and are proud that their economy is outperforming the Farang Economies.

      They prefer elitism over offensive. Believe me.

      I wish you well with your event and you may want to suggest your novel approach to the big events in Kona, Hawaii; Nice, France; and the Enduroman Arch to Arc where the economically embattled British and French locals will then be able to compete in their own backyard.

      1. Dear Win and all,

        I’m sure there are thousands of ways of doing this differently and all have their pros and cons. We have decided on a certain way and this has proven to be accepted by the large majority of our participants over the years. If some triathletes have an issue with it than that’s totally ok and if they are “boycotting” the event because of this then there is not much that can be done about it. You will never find anything that has the approval of 100% of the population, that’s a fact of live.

    2. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to justify blatant racism/nationalism. There are plenty of Thais with a lot more money than the foreign entrants. Let’s get real: it’s not Thai farmers entering this event, it’s Thais with enough time and money to train. They can afford this.

      I will never support this event as long as dual pricing is practiced.

      BTW, I’ve lived in Phuket for more than 20 years. I helped with this event once, then I found out more and stopped. I hope there is a major boycott. This is an international event… same price for everyone… period.

    3. Roman, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to charge local and non-local prices rather than thai and foreigner prices? There are plenty of “foreign locals”. I find it disgraceful and damaging to Thailand’s reputation to continue this blatant and presumptuous racist policy of dual pricing. Times have changed, with cheap air-fares and a greater desire to travel not all foreigners have the deep wallets that is assumed.

  5. You base you pricing policy on the assumption, that locals are poor and foreigners are rich. It might be true in some cases but not all. I and I’m sure other readers too, know many well of Thais and numerous not so well of foreigners living in Thailand. And I find your pricing policy unfair towards the foreigners and in a way offensive toward locals, though I guess they can’t complain about the discounted prices they get. A separate issue is that you only put the information about the “discounted Thai price” in Thai while I believe it should be also given in English so that foreigner can decided if they accept this kind of policy.

    How do locals feel about having an event in their own backyard pricing them out? I guess the same way they feel about exclusive gala diners with vintage Champange or the same way I feel about cheese in Thailand – way to expensive, can afford it, have to stick to eating in Fuji and munching on local fruits and snacks.

  6. How can you ask ‘Is it fair to have two prices based on the color of your skin’ when it’s nothing of the kind. ”Foreigners” are of all colors. Perhaps your mindset doesn’t acknowledge Koreans, Japanese, Indonesians and others who come from non-Caucasian countries. Perhaps your mindset doesn’t acknowledge that Britons, Americans, Australians etc come in all colors and shapes and sizes these days,too. Putting your bigotry to one side, in an ideal world, all individuals would pay the entry fee that they they could afford, based on their income and living standards. In an imperfect world, two prices – one for the relatively poor locals and one for the relatively rich overseas competitors – isn’t such a bad idea.

    1. Hi Alan,
      When one enquires about the dual pricing (where it exists) the explanation is always that it applies to “farang”. This word has a very precise meaning in Thailand. It’s main criterium is the colour of the skin. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Negroid, Mongolian, Indian, etc. are not “farang”.
      Whereas the sporting event under discussion has segmented on xenophobic rather than racial lines, this thread has become a continuance of previous posts of tiered pricing targeting “farang”.
      Hope this clarifies it for you somewhat.
      In closing, I am somewhat puzzled why your idea for an imperfect world completely excludes the relatively poor overseas competitors as well as the relatively rich locals. It fits into none of the accepted economic or marketing models practiced in an imperfect world and marginalising the market through segmentation can lead to a profit disaster.

    2. I say “colour of your skin” because if you look a bit Thai and speak some words in Thai then you get local price. That is fact. I have friends who were born in America but their parents came from Laos. but they could get Thai price with little effort as they look a little Thai.

  7. Hello Win,
    I didn’t notice the term ”farang” used in the Challenge triathlon document, so it has no relevance in this debate. I haven’t read previous threads, so please don’t hijack the debate. As a matter of interest, though, at least one black British friend in Thailand has used the word ”farang” to describe himself. What other word would you suggest a Thai uses in discussing non-white ”foreigners”? Relatively poor overseas competitors will find plenty of triathlons in their home countries. The ones coming to Thailand are all relatively rich. Most of the Thais don’t have those options.

    1. You are completely correct, Alan.
      I apologise if I have annoyed you in any way.
      It is probably because I come from Africa myself that I saw this as a discussion rather than a debate.
      My 20+ Indian, Filipino and Chinese friends have never had themselves referred to as “farang”. That is why they were paid 45% less as teachers teaching the same classes as the “farang” teachers.
      My Thai friends are quite well informed and when they discuss non-white “foreigners” they refer to them by their correct racial classifications.
      Thank you for pointing out that most of the Thais don’t have the same options as the relatively poor overseas competitors. As a confirmed couch potato I was unaware of the lack of triathlons in Asia and the abundance of them in Africa, the Balkans and the Russian Steppe.
      More apologies if I hijacked again.

  8. Hello Win,
    If you come from Africa, are you black, white, or of Indian or Chinese extraction? Do you care, or do I care? Do you really raise it as if it matters in the context of a triathlon? You say you come from Africa as if I am expected to make assumptions. I try not to make assumptions. Especially assumptions based on ”color of skin.” Your Thai friends seem to be, from what you say, in need of education from you about classification, or perhaps discrimination, based on false assumptions. All discrimination is bad. But competing in a triathlon is voluntary, and not discriminatory in a negative sense . . . unless people wish to make it so.

  9. My policy on dual pricing remains the same. You can have two prices if you like, but give us the right to choose by stating clearly the two prices. Do this with Arabic numbers which are widely used in Thailand and around the world.

  10. The problem is that it is a strictly race/ethnicity based pricing scheme, as opposed to a residency based pricing scheme. If it was RESIDENCY based, showing some sort of proof of residency like a Thai drivers licence would be sufficient. They do that here all the time in the States… “Florida residents save 20% on admission to Disney theme parks during the month of February (or whatever)”. Nobody complains about it.

  11. Interesting discussion but if people are so outraged at Laguna’s dual pricing then they should also look at what happens elsewhere. I am an international marathon runner and this type of practice is widespread.

    To cite an example – all but one (Berlin) of the World Marathon Majors has adopted dual pricing for non-residents. The exception seems to be mainland Europe where the overriding principle is participation for all based on equality and pricing.

    I ran in this year’s Phuket Marathon and benefited from the pricing structure that some people are so angered by. I am British, a temporary resident doing unpaid voluntary work, so I would argue why should I not receive a discounted entry fee while I am not earning? Laguna’s pricing for overseas runners is about par-for-the course, especially for an event that is so well organised and accredited to AIMS standard.

    For info – last year, New York Marathon (NYRR) charged non-residents $281 compared with $196 for US residents. Everyone is charged a non-returnable $11 processing fee regardless of whether or not their lottery application is successful. I have made a decision not to participate as I feel this is totally outrageous and that is precisely the point.

    Whether or not it is fair is missing the point. Most of the Thai running events have a similar dual pricing policy. It seems to work for most athletes. This year I paid more than Japanese residents to run in the Tokyo Marathon, and I have just paid $100 to run in the first Da Nang Marathon

    The point is this: as a consumer you have absolute power and you can decide whether to participate or you can stay at home.

    1. Dear marty,

      but you know the difference between “resident” and “Thai”? And yes, in Germany it is not allowed to price discriminate by sex, religion, race and nationality without proper additional cause, for e.g. higher costs for different needs. Other price discrimination is ok. For e.g. students, kids, elderly, handicapped, low earners, time of booking and so on. Anyway its quite a popular marketing tool. But getting a discount for just being a nationality? That really leaves a funny taste to the tounge.

      And Laguna does it semisecretly with the now official line to get political goodwill for using the island and its infrastructure like the police. So an expat who honoraryly works for the tourist police has to pay full, also every expat teacher, who provides needed skills to Thai pupils, etcpp.

  12. @Marty. Nobody I think has a problem with a clearly stated RESIDENCY discount. The problem is that it seems to be racially discriminatory based on the fact that the “Thai” price is obsfucated by only being in Thai. You can’t make an informed decision to participate if you aren’t privy to all the facts…

    1. How is not racially discriminatory? Race includes colour, descent or ancestry, nationality or ethnic background, discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic. So how exactly is charging a person, based on their appearance MORE for an event not racial discrimination? What’s worse is that the organizers of this event are trying to blatantly conceal this racial discrimination! Participants should at least have the transparency to know whether they are about to support a devious and racist organization.

      Furthermore I believe it is incredibly unbecoming to anyone to make threats on a discussion forum.

    2. Marty,
      You just don’t get it, do you. May I use some short words in a simple example? If a fellow born & living in Wales with Thai parents enter & he can read Thai and he is holidaying in Phuket he will pay the lower price. Get it?

  13. Unfortunately this is the ugly face of Thailand which has risen to the surface, yet again exposing the true meaning of what it means to be a foreigner living in a country which embraces values not compatible with the outside world. The world has got smaller, and in these modern times of reform, Thailand has yet to catchup, and accept that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.

  14. Hello Chris,
    This started out as a debate about dual pricing and now you are accusing the organisers of ”racial discrimination” and of possibly being ”a devious and racist organisation.” It’s a sporting event at a resort complex known for playing host to people from all over the world, run by an international group with impeccable credentials. Anyone can enter. The major point is whether the organisers should have revealed their (positive) discrimination in favor of Thai triathletes. You are making exaggerated claims that clearly aren’t true. That’s a worry.

  15. this thread has become hilarious.

    chris – calm down. take a deep breath please. instead of googling ‘racial discrimination’ please put your evidence in the right place. i repeat – i am a caucasion englishman temporarily residing in bangkok. i paid the lower entry fee. how was i racially discriminated against? i am not making any threats, i am suggesting that others should not make libelous claims as they may end up in trouble. that is the rule of printed media.

    win – i do get it. totally. 100%.

    my final word – what strikes me most about this thread is that most of the people throwing the loudest insults appear to be non-athletes. are any athletes complaining? exactly.

    i rest my case.

  16. Marty – I don’t think you understand that this is not the same situation. You may be an Englishman residing in Bangkok, but you cannot take advantage of the lower pricing this time as it clearly states (in Thai) ‘Thai nationals only’.

  17. I am a non-Thai triathlete, resident in Thailand, who is boycotting the 2015 Phuket triathlon due to their two tier pricing policy. Which is disappointing as I was looking forward to it until I found out about the pricing.

    I just came across this article which made me think about the two tier pricing issue again – http://asiancorrespondent.com/136070/dual-pricing-in-thailand-is-it-time-to-do-away-with-the-farang-tax/ The Phuket triathlon organisers are obviously trying to conceal their two tier pricing as they show the two prices on different webpages in Thai and English (Thai price of 3,000 nett shown here – http://www.challengelagunaphuket.com/th/tri-fest-races/laguna-phuket-triathlon/ and non-Thai price of 6,000 plus 5% commission and 3.5% credit card processing fee shown here – http://www.challengelagunaphuket.com/tri-fest-races/laguna-phuket-triathlon/ ). If they really believed in their justification for it explained in the post above by Roman Floesser they would publish the two prices next to each other with the same explanation, and let the entrants decide for themselves. And by the way, the spurious statement “It’s actually not that the foreign athletes are paying more” above from Mr Floesser is insulting to our intelligence. Is 6,000++ not more than 3,000? Do you own a calculator? FFS.

    The argument that foreign participants can pay more as they are richer doesn’t even make sense. At the other Thai triathlons I have attended, the best bikes are mostly owned by RICH THAIS FROM BANGKOK. So if Phuket Triathlon really want to discriminate based on level of wealth, how about doing it based on the bike used? But perhaps that wouldn’t fit the objective of systematically cheating the foreigners.

    To other non-Thai triathletes: to avoid encouraging this kind of two tier pricing, I recommend participating in events organised by the Thailand Triathlon Association. They are friendly and great and charge everyone the same. They have an olympic distance triathlon in Rayong on 6 December 2015 and charge 1,200 Baht. Compare that with 3,000 for Thais and 6,000++ for foreigners for the Phuket event and even if you’re not bothered about the moral issue of two tiered pricing you might be concerned about the economic one!

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