Thailand: Taste-Shop-Spend fourth stage to be proposed by Mar 20

  • The Finance Ministry is set to propose a fourth phase of the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme to the cabinet by Mar 20 as a means to stimulate domestic travel during Songkran. Supporting domestic tourism and consumption is the main focus of the scheme’s fourth phase amid the coronavirus epidemic.
  • But it remains too early to estimate a budget for the fourth phase, said one insider.
  • There were 14.4 million registrants for the scheme’s first three phases, which ran from 27 Sep 19 to 31 Jan 20. Of the total, 11.8 million registrants spent a combined THB28.8bn, with THB11.6bn received via a THB1,000 cash handout and the rest through a 15-20% cash rebate.
  • There were 170,000 participating shops nationwide, of which 8% were large merchants.
  • Some 10 million participants in the first phase and 3 million in the second received a THB1,000 cash handout, plus a cash rebate of up to 20%. The reward was required to be spent through Pao Tang’s G-wallet 1.
  • Under the cashback scheme, recipients got back 15% for spending of up to THB30,000 at participating merchants. The rebate rose to 20% for more than 30,000 to THB50,000 spent, with up to THB8,500 available in cash back.
  • Don Nakornthab, the Bank of Thailand’s senior director for economics and policy, said recently that GDP growth would likely be lower than 2% in 2020, while economic growth in 1Q20 could sink below 1% if the country loses THB250bn in tourism income as estimated by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
  • The National Economic and Social Development Council last week slashed its forecast for 2020 economic growth to 1.5-2.5% from the 2.7%-3.7% range predicted in Nov 19. The Bank of Thailand is poised to review its 2.8% estimate in Mar 20.

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