TCT asks for post-outbreak stimulus

TCT asks for post-outbreak stimulus

Tourism operators are telling the government to be ready to launch tourism stimulus packages once the new surge of outbreaks is under control, aiming to maintain momentum following the slowdown.

Chamnan Srisawat, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said domestic tourism was on the upswing during the high season, with many sites reopening with expectations of cash flow. Despite this, the resurgent pandemic has damaged the industry, he said.

If the government has to impose a lockdown to flatten the virus curve, a partial lockdown in specific areas, allowing business such as restaurants to have customers dine under stringent measures is the most preferable choice, said Mr Chamnan.

Preparation for more inclusive stimulus with a wider array of stakeholders, including tour guides, transport operators and travel agents, should occur in parallel with any preventive measures, he said.

Mr Chamnan said the council plans to set up a joint committee with the Tourism Authority of Thailand this month to work on tourism plans as operators cannot afford to lose more time or wait until the virus situation improves. The discussion is to focus on helping operators survive.

"Opportunities to obtain soft loans are slim, so more tourism-related operators have to be included in the stimulus campaign to allow them to stay afloat," Mr Chamnan said.

Operators also want the Labour Ministry to clarify whether the Social Security Office will offer financial support to tourism workers affected from the recent outbreak so operators can plan their business.

Chotechuang Soorangura, vice-president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said the government has to help with the wage burden to preserve jobs, avoiding permanent exits for many companies.

Additional long holidays approved by the government recently may not effectively boost domestic trips because not all organisations can grant the holidays, and people are scrambling just to put food on the table, he said. These factors should be considered before more long holidays are approved, said Mr Chotechuang.

Any stimulus should support the entirety of the tourism supply chain, he said.

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