Cabinet to map out recovery for South

Cabinet to map out recovery for South

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha checks the screening process at Phuket Airport on Monday after he arrived on the island to hold a cabinet meeting. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha checks the screening process at Phuket Airport on Monday after he arrived on the island to hold a cabinet meeting. (Government House photo)

The mobile cabinet in Phuket will on Tuesday consider rescue packages for southern businesses severely affected by Covid-19, including soft loans for airlines and other tourism-related companies.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the government would ask airlines to limit price increase to help stimulate domestic travel in exchange for soft loans.

Airline operators had asked the Finance Ministry in August to approve a 24-billion-baht soft loan budget to help depleted businesses resume normal operations but the ministry did not reply at that time.

As for the ministry's assistance for tourism-related businesses, Mr Arkhom said it would launch more low-interest loan programmes to help businesses maintain cash flow.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said he would ask for 1.5 billion baht to hire unemployed people in the six Andaman coastal provinces.

Mr Suchart said the money would be allocated from the government's 400-billion-baht budget for economic recovery in Phuket, Trang, Satun, Phangnga, Krabi and Ranong for 10 months. About 500 million baht would be allocated to Phuket to hire 8,000 people and the remaining provinces would receive 200 million baht each to hire around 2,000-3,000 people, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday pledged to speed up the rebuilding of the tourism sector in the South, especially on Koh Samui and Phuket.

The PM presided over a meeting in Phuket on tourism rehabilitation in the province with cabinet ministers, provincial governors and representatives of the public and private sector.

Phuket proposed to the premier urgent and long-term measures to rehabilitate its battered economy.

The province asked the government to extend the "We Travel Together" programme until Dec 31, 2021, promote meetings and seminars in the province and increase weekend flights from Bangkok.

Phuket's long-term priorities include infrastructure development, a medical tourism project to develop the province as a world-class medical hub and incentives for companies to set up offices there.

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