Tourism aid to spur domestic spending
The 22.4-billion-baht in aid promotions the government has pledged to revitalise the domestic tourism sector will generate between 30-50 billion baht for the economy in the second half of this year, according to Thanawat Phonwichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
The university's Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting has predicted that more than 20 million Thais, or about one-third of the population, will travel for leisure in the remaining months of this year, said Mr Thanawat, who is also the centre's chief adviser.
According to Mr Thanawat, the packages will entice people to travel and spend more than they would on normal trips.
However, Mr Thanawat said if the government really wants the battered industry to rebound, it should facilitate travel between regions which have controlled the novel coronavirus outbreak under a travel bubble arrangement.
He said about two-thirds of revenue in Thailand's tourism sector comes from foreign visitors.
Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said many people have expressed interest in the government's domestic tourism packages, adding he expects tourist hotspots in the North to draw huge crowds during this year's high season.
However, TCT's vice-president, Kriengkrai Thiennukul, said the government should do more to attract high-spending Thai travellers.
"Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, an average of 10 million Thais travel abroad annually, with each spending about 50,000 baht per trip -- equivalent to 500 billion baht per year," he said.
"Affluent Thais are now reluctant to travel abroad because of the pandemic. In light of this, the government should roll out measures to encourage Thai travellers with high purchasing power to travel domestically."
On June 30, the cabinet approved two stimulus packages worth 22.4 billion baht to boost domestic tourism. The promotions are valid until Oct 31. Hotel operators can register from July 1 while the public can register on July 15 at www.เราเที่ยวด้วยกัน.com ("We travel together").
Under the "We travel together" promotion worth 20 billion, the government will subsidise 2 million air tickets. Meanwhile, the "Moral Support'' promotion worth 2.4 billion baht will help fund holidays for 1.2 million health officials and volunteers.