Ministry eyes B3,000 handout for tourists
Aiming to stimulate domestic travel
Eligible recipients of domestic tourism stimulus measures will be entitled to a 3,000-baht cash handout that will automatically be deducted from their bills when they spend nights or pay for food or services at participating hotels, restaurants and related tourism operators, says an informed source at the Finance Ministry.
The scheme will require only hotels, restaurants and tourism-related operators to sign up with the designated state agency, while service users are automatically eligible without any registration requirement, the source said.
This method will prevent a repeat of problems that occurred when the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme was launched last year and can also address issues arising from ill-intentioned exploitation of some recipients, as participating operators will be responsible for claiming money from the government, the source said.
For instance, a recipient is liable to pay only 6,000 baht for his or her accommodation expense of 9,000 baht.
To be eligible for the 3,000 baht, recipients must spend at participating hotels, restaurants and tourism-related operators outside their home provinces.
The Finance Ministry is still deciding on the number of qualified recipients but wants as many as possible, the source said.
The ministry is also studying a cashback scheme for money spent that exceeds what the government provides to encourage more tourism spending.
Cash refunds will be part of the package to encourage people to spend their own money, the source said. For instance, if local tourists spend more than 3,000 baht, the amount above 3,000 baht will be entitled to cashback of 10-20%.
The source said a cash handout is the most efficient tool to blunt coronavirus impact on the economy right now.
A 400-billion-baht budget allocation set for economic rehabilitation and a recovery plan under borrowing of 1 trillion baht will be used to fund the domestic tourism stimulus scheme. A cash giveaway should not breach the budget's objectives, as money will be spent to revitalise tourism, hotels and restaurants adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the source said.
The stimulus package is meant to keep the economy afloat. Tourism receipts make up more than 10% of Thailand's GDP.
Lavaron Sangsnit, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the stimulus measures will likely be rolled out next month to maintain spending momentum after a monthly stipend of 5,000 baht paid to informal workers hit by the outbreak lapses this month.