Tourism revenue this year may total 1.2 trillion baht, below the government's target of 1.5 trillion, if there are no additional support or stimulus schemes as the fiscal budget for tourism in 2023 has been heavily cut, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan.
Mr Phiphat said the proposed stimulus packages comprise a 1-billion-baht project called "Booster Shot" under the supervision of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and a 1-billion-baht sport tourism project that aims to promote international and local sporting events around the nation.
The ministry and private sector proposed the Booster Shot to the prime minister this week and the agenda is being reviewed by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), determining whether to use the central budget or the emergency loan decree.
He said the NESDC has not made a decision.
"Without additional budget, we must admit revenue this year is more likely to tally 1.2 trillion baht, 300 billion below the target," said Mr Phiphat. "The TAT was allocated a limited budget of around 2.2 billion baht in fiscal 2023, much lower than 5-6 billion baht during pre-pandemic years."
Despite tourism's contribution to GDP reaching 18% before the pandemic, he said during the past two years the ministry proposed a number of measures to help tourism operators, but most were rejected.
Mr Phiphat said the Booster Shot programme is urgently needed by the industry to stimulate demand and strengthen tourism stakeholders.
The TAT is expected to cooperate with airlines to increase capacity to at least 50% of pre-pandemic levels and help tourism operators, such as tour buses that suffered from a lack of Chinese customers, to carry more local tour groups.
For the sports tourism projects, which will use the budget from the National Sports Development Fund, the ministry aims to promote three international events: MotoGP 2022 in September, followed by two trail running events in Chiang Mai. They comprise the inaugural "Amazing Thailand World Mountain & Trail Running Championships" in November, which was postponed from last year, and Doi Inthanon Thailand By UTMB 2022 in December.
"We already secured those events for Thailand. With more active marketing and promotions, we can draw more foreign athletes and audiences to the country, along with creating more sports events around Thailand to attract local tourists," he said.