Thailand: Big push for local tourism

  • The Finance Ministry has agreed to a plan to launch a major domestic tourism promotion in Jul 20 by giving THB2,000-3,000 vouchers to 4 million people and free trips to 1.2 million medical personnel.
  • The campaign is aimed at boosting the economy and reviving the tourism sector, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. According to the minister, the scheme was proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry and endorsed by the Finance Ministry. The overall budget will be submitted for approval in Jun 20.
  • Under the promotion, one million tourism vouchers will be allocated to each of the country’s four regions on a first-come first-served basis. The vouchers will be provided between Jul and Oct 20.
  • While the government has reopened many more businesses and activities under its third phase of easing of the countrywide lockdown, the tourism sector remains a laggard as many tourists are still hesitant about travelling.
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the government would give a cash rebate to spenders via an electronic wallet and tourists could then use that money to spend on rooms, restaurants, spas or souvenirs.
  • The 1.2 million medical personnel who are beneficiaries of the scheme will be encouraged to take trips of up to three days using local tourism operators.
  • Mr Yuthasak said the overall budget now is about THB8-12bn but if the Finance Ministry would like to expand the number of recipients to more than the 4 million people and 1.2 million medical personnel currently planned, the budget could go up.
  • Even though the third phase of the country lockdown relaxation has been implemented and people can begin to travel inter-provincially, there are still travel restrictions in many provinces that require a quarantine period and which prevent visitors travelling freely.
  • For the possible replacement Songkran holidays expected in Jul 20, Mr Yuthasak disagreed with the idea of the having an entire week as a holiday. Instead, he said the government should have a holiday on Friday or Monday for every week in Jul 20, so as to avoid large crowds gathering.
  • Additionally, “it would be better for operators to have more tourists during long holidays for the whole month rather than welcome them once and then they all go away,” he said.

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