TAT slashes goal for local tourism

TAT slashes goal for local tourism

Stimulus measures could start in June

The ambiance at Don Mueang airport before the third wave. Domestic tourism spending should weaken this year. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
The ambiance at Don Mueang airport before the third wave. Domestic tourism spending should weaken this year. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has downgraded its outlook for domestic trips and tourism receipts this year because of the economic downturn, with the third wave undermining domestic tourism.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the country needs to maintain the momentum of the 90.5 million domestic trips recorded last year with support from upcoming tourism measures such as "We Travel Together", a hotel and airline subsidy, and "Tour Teaw Thai" (Travel Around Thailand), a co-payment scheme for tour packages.

He said the measures may start by the end of June or early July, when the outbreak is hopefully under control, and could extend to Oct 31, a month longer than the previous deadline of September.

The budget for the schemes comes from the emergency loan decree to help mitigate the impact of the outbreak, which needs to be cleared by the end of the year, said Mr Yuthasak.

The agency still needs cabinet approval for the new deadline for these schemes.

Apart from stimulus schemes, TAT plans to run tourism marketing campaigns to encourage locals to take more domestic trips, such as the new series of Unseen Thailand that was postponed because of the third wave in April, he said.

"We have to stimulate the number of trips rather than increase spending per trip, which is more difficult during a tepid economy," said Mr Yuthasak.

Average spending for domestic travellers was 4,300 baht per trip prior to the pandemic, but the figure is expected to dip during the new outbreak.

If the country starts to reopen in the final quarter, Thai travellers might be able to resume outbound travel and could spend more on overseas trips, he said.

Mr Yuthasak said the agency must come up with incentives for companies and provincial administrative organisations to increase their number of trips to maintain jobs and drive the economic recovery next year.

Local sentiment concerning international arrivals in "sandbox" areas is another challenge that needs to be monitored closely, as some Thai tourists might avoid these destinations, he said.

The previous goal for domestic trips was cut at the end of April to 100-120 million trips from 160 million, with tourism revenue decreased to 550 billion baht from 870 billion after the third outbreak ravaged tourism sentiment during Songkran.

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