Billions of baht thrown at domestic tourism

by Reprintted from Bangkok Post

The coronavirus pandemic has nearly killed tourism in Thailand. Now, Thai authorities are giving some life to domestic travel by rewarding health volunteers with a free holiday as well as subsidising hotel and transportation costs. 3 stimulus packages worth 22.4 billion baht are planned to boost up the industry and are set to run from July to October.

The money comes form the Finance Ministry’s 400 billion baht Covid-19 economic recovery spending plan, a government spokesperson said. The government is borrowing 1 trillion baht to revitalise the country after the pandemic. While 400 billion is going toward economic rehabilitation projects, the other 600 billion is planned to provide financial aid for people whose jobs took a hit from the pandemic as well as health-related plans.

Out of the 3 packages, 2.4 billion baht will go to 1.2 million health volunteers and officials to fund holiday travel. They’ll be able to use 2,000 baht for short trips, around 2 days. While giving health volunteers a reward for their help, the move is also intended to help out 13,000 tourism firms.

18 billion baht will subsidise 5 million nights of hotel accommodation as well as other services, such as food, all at 40% the normal rate. Tourists will pay for the rest. The subsidy will cap out at 3,000 baht a night for 5 nights. For additional services, it caps at 600 baht per room each night.

Another 2 million baht will subsidise fares and fees related to public transportation such as domestic flight fares and inter-provincial bus fares. It would cover 40% of the expenses with a limit of 1,000 baht per tourist.

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