Travel scheme users won't lose privileges

Travel scheme users won't lose privileges

Govt holding talks with Thai hotels

The famous 'Temple of Dawn', or Wat Arun Ratchawararam, in Bangkok is devoid of tourists as it is closed to visitors until Jan 31 to help stop the spread of Covid-19. (Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
The famous 'Temple of Dawn', or Wat Arun Ratchawararam, in Bangkok is devoid of tourists as it is closed to visitors until Jan 31 to help stop the spread of Covid-19. (Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

Thai tourists who made hotel bookings under the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) co-payment scheme and cancelled or postponed their reservations due to concerns over Covid-19 will not lose their privileges under the campaign, according to the government.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Wednesday the government is holding talks with the Thai Hotels Association, online travel agencies and hotels and resorts that participate in the campaign to find a solution for tourists who had already paid for their bookings.

Ms Traisuree said the solution could be a refund or vouchers from hotels and resorts which tourists can use at a later date when the situation improves.

The government is also asking Krung Thai Bank to add a feature to the "Pao Tang" app, which is used for identification and payment in the scheme, to allow tourists to cancel or postpone their reservations, she added.

According to the deputy spokeswoman, more than 7.3 million people have registered for the We Travel Together campaign since it was launched in July last year, contributing more than 20 billion baht to the economy. Some 8,514 hotels and resorts are now participating in the scheme.

"As the campaign was successful in increasing the circulation of money in the economy, the government is considering extending the campaign until the end of October this year," Ms Traisuree said.

Under the We Travel Together scheme, participants will pay only 60% of normal room rates, with the government responsible for the rest. The subsidy was initially capped at 3,000 baht per night for up to five consecutive nights in the first stage and has now been stretched to 10 nights.

Tourists also automatically receive an e-voucher for other expenses that are valued at 600 baht from Friday to Sunday and 900 baht from Monday to Thursday under the scheme. The government will also help pay 40% of the price of air tickets, a maximum of 3,000 baht per person -- up from 1,000 baht and 2,000 baht in the first few months of the scheme.

Meanwhile, Pitak Yotha, a representative from the Charavi Association for the Conservation of Thai Massage, on Wednesday submitted a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, asking him to allow spa and traditional massage parlours across the country to reopen as many lack sufficient cash flow to weather the lockdown. Mr Pitak claimed that 11,280 out of 15,000 spas and traditional massage parlours nationwide have gone out of business permanently due to Covid-19.

"If we're not allowed to open, the government must provide relief measures," he said.

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