Thailand has come up with a 20 billion baht scheme to revitalise the tourism industry, one of its main economic sectors.
Under the scheme, the government would offer a 3,000 baht subsidy on five million hotel rooms and a 40 percent discount on airline tickets to Thai tourists next month.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said a complete package, combining benefits from hotel bookings and airfare, would be submitted to the cabinet for approval this week.
"We expect to stimulate 100 million domestic trips while the international market recovers."
The scheme is part of attempts to drive total tourism revenue to 1.23 trillion baht this year after achieving 520 billion baht in the first five months of the year.
Of the targeted amount, 402 billion baht was expected to come from domestic tourists and 828 billion baht from international travellers.
Phiphat said tourists aged 20 and above were eligible when they check into hotels or buy tickets from airlines involved in the scheme. The government would subsidise 40 per cent of spending — up to 3,000 baht per person.
The Bangkok Post said the Thailand Tourism Authority and Finance Ministry finalised the package last week, but the details were subject to change.
"At first, we didn't include airlines in the scheme. But as the aviation industry is an essential part of travel that has been hit by the pandemic, we were asked to help them, too," Phiphat said.
Thai travellers were required to sign up via the Krungthai Bank app to get an e-voucher for the scheme, which would run from next month to October.
Another stimulus package had been tailored for the 1.2 million medical personnel, village health volunteers and sub-district health promotion hospital workers.
They would be eligible for free meeting and incentive trips with a 2,000 baht support per person.
Phiphat said there was also a discussion on allowing people to travel between two countries without being quarantined, known as a travel bubble.
In the initial stage, the country would be open to only two groups, businesspeople who received an invitation from a firm and patients who had an appointment with a doctor in Thailand.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said the targeted countries were China, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Middle East nations.
In the next phase, the ministry planned to speak with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o Cha about easing restrictions for long-term tourists who can travel to designated areas where their location is easily tracked.
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