Cabinet puts its seal on latest tourist tax break

Cabinet puts its seal on latest tourist tax break

Deduction for stays at hotels off the beaten path

Baan Sakae Krang Market in Uthai Thani, one of the 55 second-tier provinces. KARNJANA AYUWATANACHAI
Baan Sakae Krang Market in Uthai Thani, one of the 55 second-tier provinces. KARNJANA AYUWATANACHAI

Small hotels and homestay operators in 55 second-tier provinces are expected to gain from the additional tourist tax perk approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

Under the cabinet measure, individual travellers who stay at lodging with fewer than four rooms in these provinces can use their receipts to claim a tax deduction of up to 15,000 baht.

The tax scheme will be retroactive to the start of this year and continue to the end of 2018.

Ittirit Kinglake, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said the latest tax perk will benefit small homestays and providers of small accommodation, as well as local food shops, and eventually boost tourism in less-popular areas.

The cabinet late last year approved tax breaks for tourism spending in the 55 provinces, a move aimed at spurring travel and distributing income to provinces dubbed "second tier".

The tax breaks are for individual travellers who spend on accommodation, food and drinks, as well as corporations that organise seminars and meetings at these secondary locations, which welcome fewer than 4 million tourists a year.

Mr Ittirit said it will take some time to see a response from tourists who plan trips to the 55 provinces, where 105 accommodation operators with fewer than four rooms have been certified by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Besides the tax perk, the ministry will also provide tourism management and knowledge to operators in these provinces such as online marketing, hotel and tourism regulation, tourism standards, and improved tourist guides.

Sujitra Jongchansitto, deputy governor for tourism products and business at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said tourism revenue in the 55 second-tier provinces during the first five months of 2018 totalled 100 billion baht, a 9.1% rise from the same period of last year.

The TAT and the ministry reported that the number of visitors travelling in some second-tier provinces, such as Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Buri Ram and Udon Thani, grew by 20% during the first five months.

In order to boost domestic tourism, the TAT plans to hold the Secondary Travel Fair in Bangkok during Aug 22-26 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, where all 55 second-tier provinces will showcase their local attractions.

The TAT predicts total tourism revenue of 3 trillion baht this year. Of the total, 2 trillion baht is to be generated by 37-38 million foreign tourists. Domestic tourism is set to contribute 1 trillion baht.

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