The Finance Ministry has agreed to a plan to launch a major domestic tourism promotion next month by giving 2,000-3,000 baht vouchers to 4 million people and free trips to 1.2 million medical personnel.
The campaign is aimed at boosting the economy and reviving the tourism sector, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
According to the minister, the Finance Ministry agreed to the scheme proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry. Under the promotion, one million tourism vouchers will be allocated to each of the country's four regions on a first-come first-served basis.
Krungthai Bank will develop an app to support the registration and the allocation of the vouchers, which will be provided between July and October.
While the government has reopened many more businesses and activities under its third phase of easing of the countrywide lockdown, the tourism sector remains a laggard as many tourists are still hesitant about travelling.
Mr Phiphat said the two ministries will finalise the overall budget and details of the scheme and the finance minister will submit it for cabinet approval later this month.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the scheme called Tiew Pun Suk (trips to share happiness) will focus on Thais planning to take inter-provincial trips between July and October.
They would have to register using the app to buy hotel vouchers first. Upon checking in with the vouchers, the government would give a cash rebate to spenders via an electronic wallet and tourists could then use that money to spend on rooms, restaurants, spas or souvenirs.
The thank-you gift for 1.2 million medical personnel such as village health volunteers and subdistrict health promotion hospital workers is to encourage them to take trips of up to three days using local tourism operators.
Mr Yuthasak said the overall budget now is about 8-12 billion baht but if the Finance Ministry would like to expand the number of recipients to more than the 4 million people and 1.2 million medical personnel currently planned, the budget could go up.
Even though the third phase of the country lockdown relaxation has been implemented and people can begin to travel inter-provincially, there are still travel restrictions in many provinces that require a quarantine period and which prevent visitors travelling freely.
For the possible replacement Songkran holidays expected in July, Mr Yuthasak disagreed with the idea of the having an entire week as a holiday. Instead, he said the government should have a holiday on the Friday or the Monday of each week throughout July to avoid large crowds gathering.
"It would be better for operators to have more tourists during long holidays for the whole month rather than welcome them once and then they all go away," he said.