Cabinet OKs new perks for tourism

Cabinet OKs new perks for tourism

Stimulus covers measures for this year and some for 2020

The economic cabinet on Friday approved a new round of tourism measures, aiming for the number of foreign visitors to reach 39.8 million and generate 2.04 trillion baht this year.

Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for political affairs, said the new tourism stimulus measures cover both short-term measures for this year and some for 2020. They will be submitted for cabinet approval next week.

The government also set a target to attract 41.8 million foreign visitors and generate 2.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue next year.

Mr Kobsak said the short-term measures include free re-entry visas for foreign tourists who visit neighbouring countries by land, increased value-added tax (VAT) refund agents, more downturn VAT refund venues and VAT refunds in cash on the spot.

A measure to make it easier for the 150,000 expatriates in the country to travel nationwide without reporting to the authorities as required by Section 37 of the 1979 Immigration Act, also known as TM30, will also be introduced.

The rule requires foreigners who receive a long-term visa to report within 24 hours to authorities when they travel to other provinces that are not their residence.

Expats are also required to report their whereabouts every 90 days to the authorities.

Thailand charges 2,000 baht for single-entry visas lasting three months.

Companies will also be allowed to claim deductions of up to two times expenses if they organise seminars in the country.

Mr Kobsak said the government will open checkpoints with Laos and Malaysia around the clock during weekends and long holidays. This measure is to last three months.

The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale is planned for three months -- from Nov 1 to January -- with discounts of up to 70%, Mr Kobsak said. Some 400 shops are expected to participate, up from 200 last year.

The event helped raise the spending of foreign visitors to 2,800 baht per day per person last year from normal spending of 1,250 baht per day.

For medium- and long-term measures, Mr Kobsak said the government aims to improve the standards of accommodation and safety, as well as increase the number of world heritage tourism spots.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said his agency and related agencies will introduce mega events to lure foreign visitors and increase their spending.

These events include the Ultra-Trail, Amazing Thailand Marathon Series, MotoGP and Super GT races.

Concert events will include Tomorrow Land, Electric Daisy Carnival and the Ultra Music Festival.


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