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Govt puts billions into local tourism

A tourist walks on the beach of Phuket early last month when the southern island province reopened its beaches to jumpstart its economy after months of lockdown. (Photo: Achadtaya Chuenniran)

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The cabinet on Tuesday approved two stimulus packages worth 22.4 billion baht to revitalise domestic tourism which has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The packages will start today and run until Oct 31, said a deputy government spokeswoman.

She said that originally there were three packages known as "Happiness-sharing trips", "Let's travel", and "Moral Support" -- proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

But two of them -- "Happiness-sharing trips" and "Let's travel" have now been merged and are known as "We travel together".

The "Happiness-sharing trips'' package worth 2 billion baht is to subsidise domestic flight fares, inter-provincial bus fares and car rental fees for a total of 2 million people.

The government will subsidise 2 million air tickets, with the subsidy limited to 2,000 baht per person. Eligible people must pay for their tickets first and the government will pay them back 40% of ticket prices. For round-trip tickets, the subsidy is limited to no more than 1,000 baht per seat.

The "Let's travel" package worth 18 billion baht will fund subsidies for accommodation, food and other services provided at tourist destinations.

The government will subsidise five million nights of hotel accommodation at 40% of normal room rates, with the subsidy limited to 3,000 baht per night for up to five nights. Tourists will pay for the other 60%.

Subsidies for other services, including food, are capped at 600 baht per room per night. The subsidised tourist facilities must be outside the tourists' home provinces to qualify. 

Hotels and eateries can register to join the package today and they must have a certificates issued by the Departmet of Tourism while the public can register on July 15 on www.เราเที่ยวด้วยกัน.com or We travel together.

As for the "Moral Support'' package worth 2.4 billion baht, it will fund holiday travel for 1.2 million health volunteers and officials of sub-district hospitals. The package is also expected to help more than 13,000 tour companies.

The subsidy is limited to 2,000 baht per tourist for a trip of at least two days and one night, and is expected to help 13,000 tour firms.

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Vocabulary:

cap : to have an upper limit; to have an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed - มีขีดสูงสุด

eligible : allowed by rules or laws to do something or to receive something - มีสิทธิ

merge : (of two or more groups) to join together to become one - การรวมกัน

package : many goods or services sold together in one "package" -

provincial (adj): related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country - ประจำจังหวัด, ส่วนท้องถิ่น

subsidise : to pay part of the costs of something - ให้ความช่วยเหลือด้านการเงิน

subsidy : an amount of money that a government or organisation pays to help to reduce the cost of a product or service - เงินชดเชยที่รัฐเป็นผู้จ่ายให้

volunteer (noun): someone who is not paid for the work that they do; someone who does something willingly without being required to - อาสาสมัคร

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