Ministry readies handouts to kick-start domestic tourism
The government is ready to spend lavishly on domestic tourism handouts, hoping to stir the economy in the final four months of the year.
While waiting for remedies from the Finance Ministry to deal with the strong currency, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the ministry is polishing its final draft proposals to boost domestic tourism.
Officials expect to spend 15 billion baht for three projects set to run from September to December.
Apart from a cash handout scheme introduced by the Finance Ministry, Mr Phiphat said the other two projects are forecast to generate revenue for every community in Thailand.
One is to offer a 100-baht single price for every tourism product. The flash sale will be offered on Sept 9, Oct 10, Nov 11 and Dec 11 via mobile banking apps. Krungthai Bank is ready to join the campaign and Siam Commercial Bank is in discussions.
The project, unofficially called 9/9, 10/10, 11/11 and 12/12, is aimed at boosting tourism spending in the 77 provinces.
The ministry is also calling for cooperation from the business sector to offer tourism services at special prices, such as hotel rooms, air tickets and dining packages.
Another stimulus scheme is designed on the same principle, relying on discounts, redemption, and giveaway and bonus gifts. Under this promotion, Thai travel will receive on-top privileges after the purchase of tourism products that already offer extra-low prices in the off-season sale.
"Normally hotels offer their low-season rates at 50%, but when purchasing products that join this programme, tourists will have a further 10-15% discount," Mr Phiphat said. "I hope this scheme will kick-start domestic spending and compensate for some of the loss from international expenditure after the baht's appreciation hit tourists' currency exchange."
These two projects to lure spending should be finalised before Aug 23 to seek the cabinet's approval.
There remain concerns, however, that these projects will not catch on with Thais, similar to last year's tax-break flop.
Mr Phiphat vowed to create more awareness by publicising the campaign in every area of the country.