More stimulus measures in store to drive spending
The government looks set to introduce fresh stimulus measures, particularly aiming to spur spending by middle- and high-income earners and boost private investment.
Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the new measures will be based on the co-payment principle and include the features of the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme, which involves cash giveaways and cash rebates, or tax incentives to stimulate shopping, as previously introduced under the Shop Chuay Chart tax break.
Details of the new measures, set to take effect in the fourth quarter, will be discussed at the meeting of the Center for Economic Situation Administration on Oct 7.
Mr Supattanapong said the government also plans to extend the We Travel Together tourism scheme, scheduled to end on Oct 31, until the end of this year.
The proposed extension of We Travel Together coincides with two long-weekend holidays recently approved by the cabinet.
The first break is Nov 19-22, with the 19th and 20th declared public holidays. In December, the 7th was originally a holiday in lieu of the 5th, Father's Day, which falls on Saturday, but it is deferred to the 11th to create a long holiday for Dec 10-13. Dec 10 is Constitution Day.
Launched on July 15, the domestic tourism stimulus measure is part of the government's effort to boost domestic travel, as foreign tourists are still barred from entering the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government subsidises 5 million nights of hotel accommodation at 40% of normal room rates, with the subsidy limited to 3,000 baht per night for up to five nights. Tourists are responsible for the other 60%.
Subsidies for other services, including food, are capped at 600 baht per room per night. The subsidised tourist facilities must be outside the tourists' home provinces to qualify and are limited to 40% of actual expenses, with tourists paying the rest.
The campaign has received a lukewarm response. As of Sept 29, the government reported just 1.5 million rooms registered for use under the scheme. The figure is far from the target of 5 million rooms.
According to Mr Supattanapong, the government will improve the scheme to help the elderly and ordinary people. If necessary, officials may also launch fresh measures to boost private investment through tax incentives to entice the private sector to buy more capital goods.
"The government is studying the feasibility of the measure," Mr Supattanapong said. "Given attractive supporting factors such as low interest rates, high liquidity and progress in infrastructure development projects, investors should rev up their investment for the future."