Mayor asks businesses not to take advantage of visitor influx

Posted by samakomlao Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vientiane Mayor Sombath Yialiher has asked businesses not to hike up their prices during the SEA Games, given the practice has been declared illegal by the organising committee.

Mr Sombath said the Vientiane Administration Office issued an announcement last week to all businesses in Vientiane to control the price of goods and services in Vientiane during the 25th SEA Games next month.

“The announcement will control the price of things including products on sale at markets, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants because we do not want complaints from visitors that prices were too high during the games,” he said. A survey conducted by Vientiane press last weekend found that some businesses were planning to increase their prices by almost 50 percent.

The press then interviewed the Mayor, who said he could solve the problem with other involved sectors.

“We also heard reports from staff about the problem, which is bad news for us, so I ordered a special unit of our staff to go down to the market and check the prices. They found the information that had been given to us was true,” Mr Sombath said.

He added that some merchants had raised their prices, but not all of them.

“Another problem is that guesthouses will increase their prices so we should hurry to try and stop them.”

The Vientiane Administration Office has started to crack down on the problem, and has ordered a special unit to inspect prices before the games start next week.

A restaurant owner told press that they didn't intend to raise prices during the SEA Games, but would be forced to because the price of vegetables and other products would increase.

Some accommodation providers also said it would be a good opportunity to earn extra income because there would be plenty of people needing places to stay during the games.

Mr Sombath said if businesses kept raising their prices the government had measures in place to deal with them.

The Vientiane Mayor asked everyone to respect the announcement because it would affect the reputation of the country if prices were too high.

He said people needed accommodation and other services and if they were forced to pay too much they would complain about Laos when they got back home and hinder the growth of tourism in the future.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

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