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Special Prices for Asians Only - your thoughts please?

Special Prices for Asians Only - your thoughts please?

Mar 19th, 2004, 03:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,751
You are not being charged more. They are simply having a promotional offer probably during a 'low season' time of year and have decided to limit that promotion to ASEAN residents. It is not complicated nor is it racial. It is simply a promotion being offered that you are not entitled to because you are not a resident of an ASEAN country. There has been a great deal of effort to promote regional tourism as the region as a whole realises that they cannot depend soley on business originating outside of the region. There must be countless examples across the world ( several already mentioned above ) where local people get access to special promotions that others do not and also countless places where foreign visitors get special deals better than locals, it worksd 2 ways.
If you want that to upset you and damage your planned trip Aine then you are kind of destroying your trip. Sadly the world is not a fair and equal place and I for one only wish it was. But the fact remains that it is their choice to offer this promotion and if that offends you then that is unfortunate.
I am sure if you sat back and thought about it you would realise that it is simply a promotion that you are not entitiled to.
My personal concern is that it has now upset you to the point of not going, if that's the case it is sad.
JamesA is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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Of course I am still going and this will not damage my trip. I, like everybody else on the planet, just want to be treated equally. Maybe if the whole discount thing was done a little more discreetly, the statement "______ Only" has a strange ring to it.

Take this example, if a tourist came to the USA, and saw a hotel price advertised as "Special Price for Americans Only" for the same facilities, I think there would be an issue.

If you walked into a store for a luxury item, say a designer pair of sunglasses and you were told that you had to pay 25% more than the person next to you because he was a resident of a group of countries, what would you do? I know I would walk out.

I do not want to take away the special deals for anybody. I just want to be offered them too. Why should I pay more?
Aine is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 05:55 AM
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Why? Because that's the way it is. It is called supply and demand.

Suppose you go over to Thailand and when you get to some site see that the Thai in front of you pays 50 cents to get in and then you are required to pay $5. I expect you to not go in.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 19th, 2004, 06:44 AM
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There seems to be some sort of this (double system) just about all over. Where locals and maybe even resident-aliens pay less and tourists pay more.

As mentioned above, this is so in Egypt - as example when we attended a performance of AIDA, tourists were charged USD$100 which is what many in the US would pay for an opera performance; resident aliens paid USD$30 (which was close to 100EgyPounds; Egyptians paid the equivalent of USD$10.

The other day I received notice of reduced r/t airfares from USA to Johannesberg at $954+tax; while from JNB to USA fare was $844+tax. Also in SA there are special rates at safari camps for locals vs visitors (but not at the very high-end camps). Some South Africans don't approve of this system, others feel it works just fine.

Even here in NYC, many of us visit the Metroplitan Museum of Art regularly (once a month or as exhibits change) and though the museum has a "suggested contribution of USD$10" - many locals pay about $1 - $2 each visit as we're here regularly; tourists on the other hand pay the full rate.

And shortly after 9/11 when a country like Egypt lowered hotel rates so locals could share the experience for a week-end, which under ordinary circumstances they wouldn't be able - so too did Israel when they saw their tourism drop like a leadball. They offered special rates for their citizens to keep hotels open and fellow citizens employed.

When you're on the opposite end of these situations, it, no doubt, seems unfair, but that's just the way it is!
Not all that unusual.
Mar 19th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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good perspective sandi!
Aine is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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Actually, there is a dual pricing system in Hawaii for residents vs. non-residents and in some cases, it can be fairly substantial. It's called kama'aina and it is a "local" discount for which the recipients show a local I.D. (I questioned this practice on another board once -- we're all U.S. citizens, after all -- and received the kind of indignant response from a Hawaiian that one might expect for challenging such a thing.)
Flyboy is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 07:52 AM
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Children and senior discounts is so unfair around the world. What? They don't take up spaces? I suggest we get rid of them worldwide on everything. That include student fare too! That's so disciminatory for working people. People who need to work have to pay full price and people who don't can get discount? That's so ridiculous.

And those railpasses in Europe, Japan and all-over-the world that aren't available for local residents are even worse. Discriminating against local people! We even practise them here, with many US airlines selling 4-trip or 12-trip coupons for foreigners, while charging locals for much more...

And why not get upset about the different rates an airline charge its tickets. That's so disciminatory against business people who can't plan their trips 7-, 14-, or 21-day in advance and having to stay spend a Saturday night at the destination. Forcing working parents to spend a weekend away from home is so destructive for their children.

Hehehe... I can go on and on. Anyways, others have already explained the reasons behind all these very eloquently. I don't need to repeat that.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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And I have to re-stress what I was talking about all along.

The only problem I have with this form of discrimination is the difference in price for luxury hotel rooms for people who can obviously afford to pay for it. I think some people are being totally unreasonable - attack being the best form of defense and all that.

To attempt to turn this into something as ridiculous as "I suggest we get rid of them worldwide on everything.." is downplaying what I was talking about, changing the issue completely as a form of defense.
Aine is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Mt. Snow in Vermont offers discounted lift ticket rates to those with Vermont drivers licenses. DisneyWorld offers similiar discounts to Florida residents. In New York City, local residents can get a partial refund on taxes paid when using parking garages. This happens everywhere.

From a business perspective, local residents can fill up hotels, etc. when the tourist seasons are slow.

In some parts of the world, these local discounts are real benefits for everyone. In Kenya, for example, the WWF was allocating funding for trips by Kenyans to the national game parks. Park admission is generally free for them but the rest of the cost was generally prohibitively expensive. Showing them the beauty of their country is a weapon against overdevelopment and provides a reason for locals to work to conservation.
Ryan is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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this forum seems too have a big consentration of high income earners. and $100 bucks here/there overpaid on a hotel is no big deal.. and paying a couple 100% more on admision fees compared too locals is just chump change not worth thinking about.

I wonder what kind of responses you would get if you asked same question on lonely planet.. where people cry foul for every penny overcharged.

I think the budget your playing with may couse one too feel a certain way on the subject.


... your point on the upscale hotels having special rates for locals is fairly valid. since the locals that could ever offard such a place are riding around town in a Mercadeez, buying european boutique items. and twinging when ever anyone of a lower class gets near them. So for them the discount is pointless. and they might even loose face if they pay less and tell anyone.


aine no I'm not a resident of thailand
orgy7 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Aine, I've been thinking about your problem and I think I have a solution. Next time you're in one of those countries, stay in a 3-star hotel, or better still, 2-star. Even if the locals get a cut rate there, the disparity won't be so great in absolute terms, so you'll have less to worry about; and you'll meet a nicer class of person too. I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 05:24 PM
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I'm with you. When I was in Bangkok last year, I got HOT about the fact that I, as a non-Thai woman, had to rent socks and sandles before entering the Imperial Palace Grounds. In the first moment, when the guard said, "go back-and pointed to the sign, I thought it reasonable, because I was wearing slides, which I had been told were okay. In order to show respect, I thought, all women would have to do this. OH NO! I saw several Thai women teetering through the guard gate right behind me with mile high backless slides-when I looked on in astonishment, and pointed this out to the guard, he rudely answered-"Thai women okay foreigners different." I was positively outraged, and although I trekked all the way back to the entrance and rented my little sandals and socks, I seethed with anger at the racial prejudice (that's exactly what it is folks!) that I had experienced, and it ruined my visit to the Palace as a result. The guards started laughing when they saw how outraged I was. That experience still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and makes me most disinclined to go back to Thailand anytime soon.
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:13 PM
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This practice is everywhere. Like Flyboy said, it's rampant in Hawaii. The residents often get 50% or more off the regular rates. When I lived there you're darn right I took the discounts too! Philosophically I had a problem with it but financially (for me) it was a wonderful thing. It was pretty obvious the businesses there were out to gouge tourists, but the tourists kept on coming. Supply and demand. As long as someone is willing to pay the asking price, despite of locals-only discounts, nothing will change. Is it fair? No. Is it good business? Absolutely.
mgc is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 10:50 PM
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Airlawgirl, your experience does sound overtly racist. And there could well be a subterranean racist component in the practice Aine complains about too, but as mgc points out, the primary motive for that is tourist-gouging.

The sad fact is that racism, overt or covert, is everywhere. On the Australia/Pacific forum not long ago an American of Indian descent worried that she might be subject to racist behaviour in Australia; straight away I and others pointed out indignantly that Australia is a modern multicultural society complete with racial vilification laws, etc., etc., and I was also tempted to point out that India's caste system has ancient racist roots.

But at the same time, I know very well that our immigration policy used to discriminate against non-Europeans, and that won't be forgotten quickly in Asia. So, let him who is without sin cast the first stone, etc.

Sometimes we try so hard to be good that we tie ourselves into terrible knots - Jerry Seinfeld's hilarious litany of Freudian slips with his Native American girlfriend summed it up beautifully - and accurately: in the 1970s an Australian cabinet minister in the middle of an argument with the Prime Minister of Papua-New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, sounded off with "Look, Michael, you can argue till you're black in the face, but we can't agree to that!"

I guess what I'm saying is that we of European descent have a rather spotty history in this regard. This doesn't excuse racist behaviour in other parts of the world, but a glancing acquaintance with our own histories might at least help us to understand it, especially when practiced by people who not so long ago may have been colonised and discriminated against by white people.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 05:14 AM
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I had responded to the original Malaysian travel agent to say that I did not think that their practice of "for Malaysian residents only" was fair - I received a reply over the weekend of

I already discuss with our manager and she told me,our package also valid for non-malaysia resident.

Thanks & Best regards,"

The option of loosing a client/sale was obviously enough encouragement to make the offer open to everybody. Speak up people and don't let anybody make you feel guilty about it. As it has been said time and time again on this question . . ."makes good business sense obviously!"

I would rather donate the difference to a worthwhile charity over there than pay the difference in some luxury hotel for somebody that does not need it. I think its time to get real.

Aine is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Interesting thread.

Neil, thank you for a most sensitive post.

I guess I'm a bit surprised at the huffing and puffing over what is a "perceived" and not real discrimination. Here's a person upset because she has to pay a few dollars more.

I wonder what she would feel in the face of REAL discrimination - like being denied a job or not being able to move into a particular neighborhood or, worse, losing life, limb, or almost all property and possessions (like the interrment of the Japanese-Americans during WWII)or being moved off the land your ancestors have lived on for hundreds and maybe thousands of years and confined onto a "reservation" (like the Native Americans) or having your children learn only Russian in school (like in so many of the East European countries) or...

Give it up, Aine. You got your discount. Given the overwhelming discrimination practised by Caucasians and still being practised to one degree or another, your posting does not add anything for tolerance and understanding in the world. Quite the contrary.
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 10:22 AM
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easytraveler - Hi. Thanks for your input. I thought it would make for an interesting thread, that's why I posted it. My husband said almost the exact same thing as you did, and has the same views and we do differ on this.

I think discussing matters like these does help enormously with "tolerance and understanding in the world" as different views do have to be put out there and discussed. I took many of these opinions to heart, from both sides of the discussion. It would be a pity if people just accepted situations they were not happy with.

I am sure it would suit many people not to discuss uncomfortable questions.

Aine is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 12:22 PM
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Aine: I'm not adverse to discussing "uncomfortable" topics at all.

It's just that erratic economic pricing is not racism.

You keep trying to make out that it is, no matter what others have posted to try and tell you that it was not a racist move, but an economic one.

I recently bid on Priceline and got a wonderful hotel room for about 1/3 to 1/4 its normal going rate. Was this a case of "reverse discrimination"? Did they feel suddenly sorry for me and gave me a better price? Why would a hotel offer the same room for such huge differing prices? It's economics, not racism, or discrimination, or reverse discrimination.

Let's say you had ten knives and you advertised that you will sell them for $20 a piece. Suddenly someone next to you offers you $16 apiece for three pieces. Would you sell? I would. Then someone answers your ad and is willing to pay the full advertised price. Would you then knock it down to $16 or would you still sell it for $20? I would still sell it for $20. It's not discrimination, it's what the market will bear. However, if the person answering the ad says, "Hey, how come you sold it to that other guy for $16? I want that price too." I'd lower my price and sell the darn knife for $16. I'm there to sell as many knives as I can at the best price I can get for each knife. It is NOT a good economic move to sit on those knives and insist on $20 and have to wait and wait and wait for the right customers to come along.

As for my hotel room, it was better for the hotel to get 1/3 to 1/4 the going rate than to get nothing at all.

"Special" rates for "special" groups happen all the time.

This is all a matter of money, not of racism. Please get over it, Aine. You are making yourself sick over this imaginary "hurt". It's not healthy.

Nor am I saying that Asians aren't capable of discrimination. We are ALL capable of discrimination, regardless of race; but, IMHO, this is not one of those situations. Besides which, you got your hotel room for a better price because you were sharp enough to see the difference and negotiate for a better price. Good for you! But, let it go! Please!
easytraveler is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 12:57 PM
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I am visiting Asia this year and came across this website. This discussion caught my attention and as a person of colour I wanted to add something. Discrimination is just that discrimination, if you have to stand in a different line because of your race pay a different price or are excluded from an event it all IS a form of discrimination which is very dangerous on any level as it has to start somewhere. The last person who wrote in, your luck with Price line was the luck of the draw, the original poster message is discriminatory as to race. I am sure the people sitting at the back of the bus were once told to get over it let it g0 or likewise. Peace to all.
robynwill is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Robyn: You're going to have a difficult time in Asia because you are bound to see discrimination in Asia AGAINST you, whether it exists or not. You are carrying your American cultural values and prejudices with you and reading them into cultures that are totally different.

Asians learnt racism from Europeans and Americans. The racism which they have learnt is very different from the racism which Blacks in the US suffered.

Don't get me wrong: Asians have their own discrimination systems, but you are going to overlay their real, inherent prejudices with some new, imaginary ones of your own which you carry with you to Asia.

This whole thing reminds me of something that happened in Taiwan some 15-20 years ago. One of the most popular toothpastes in Taiwan featured on its label a black man with beautiful shining white teeth. The English label said "Blackie Toothpaste". American Blacks kicked up a HUGE fuss, claiming that this was "discrimination", etc., to the utter confusion of the Taiwan people. THEY thought that it was a terrific compliment to blacks to be featured as having such beautiful white teeth. THEY had no history of discrimination nor of enslavement of black people.

Of course, the name was changed. I forget what it was changed to. Hope it was "Whitey Toothpaste".

Please, Robyn, leave your racial sensitivities back in the US where they belong and go and enjoy Asia!
easytraveler is offline  

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