Tourism minister eager to add B500bn in revenue
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Tourism minister eager to add B500bn in revenue

Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanich is planning to generate an additional 500 billion baht in tourism revenue this year to reach the record-high target of 3.5 trillion baht by surveying projects that lack a stimulus budget and requesting funds from the cabinet.

Mr Sermsak said the relevant authorities would discuss their plans for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years to see which tourism projects do not fit in this year's plan and require more budget, aiming to effectively maximise revenue in the second half.

The meeting is slated for June 14 and the ministry hopes to conclude the proposal and submit it to the cabinet for approval within this month.

The proposed budget might be drawn from the central budget, he said.

"We're quite certain of achieving at least 3 trillion baht in revenue, but to reach 3.5 trillion additional budget is needed. We believe the government and premier realise the significance of the tourism industry as an economic engine and key contributor to the country's GDP," said Mr Sermsak.

According to the third National Tourism Development plan for 2023-2027, the tourism industry should contribute 25% of GDP by 2027, increasing from the peak pre-pandemic level of 18-19%.

He said the 300-baht tourist tax, which has been shelved since the departure of the previous administration, still needs to be evaluated in terms of the benefits, the regulations concerning the usage of funds, and any potential setbacks that could occur from imposing a tax on tourists, as instructed by the prime minister.

Thapanee Kiatphaibool, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said there are at least three tourism pillars that should be bolstered to help generate the additional 500 billion baht in revenue, including domestic and international marketing promotions and the organisation of large events.

In the first five months this year, tourism revenue, including both domestic and foreign markets, tallied 830 billion baht, she said.

The TAT plans to intensify marketing promotions in potential markets by dividing them into two groups, said Ms Thapanee. The first group comprises five "rising star" countries from each region that account for a limited number of tourists, but are experiencing tremendous growth. The second group is mature markets that usually contribute a large portion of revenue.

She said the agency would hold discussions with the private sector to gather suggestions from them, then submit them to the tourism and sports minister during the meeting on June 14.

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