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Expats should get travel stimulus deals, Thai Hotels president says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Expats should get travel stimulus deals, Thai Hotels president says | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Katie Musial
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Expats might be included in the next wave of tourism incentives, at least that’s what the new president of Thai Hotels Association is pushing for. Those who live and pay taxes in Thailand should have equal rights as Thai nationals, the association’s president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi says.

Thai nationals have been able get deals on travel through the domestic tourism stimulus package since mid-July. Those who registered for the package receive discounts on hotels and restaurants as well as rebates on flight tickets.

The plan isn’t working out as well as hoped and locals have been slow to take advantage of the travel incentives. Occupancy levels at hotels remain low and locals seem to want to save their money rather than spend it on a holiday. Nunbhakdi says allowing expats to take part in hotel deals can help fill the rooms.

“We need to treat expatriates who live and pay tax here the same way we treat locals.”

The next wave of the tourism scheme might have more privileges to help boost the economy. Nunbhakdi recommends a tax deduction on tourism spending. She also says the subsidy for accommodation spending should be increased from 40% to 50%. With some hotels struggling to stay open after the coronavirus outbreak, Nunbhakdi says she’s seeking financial support to help save them from closing.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Oh now that special deals for Thais only is not being taken, they want the felangs to have these deals, where they were refused for felangs before.
    Will these special deals enable felangs to pay the same fees as Thais to enter national parks?
    I doubt it.
    Naw, you cannot be racist yesterday, and when it proves to be to your disadvantage change you mind, and not be racist today.
    Starve Thais. Your nasty, selfish, racist, attitude is emptying your pockets.

    • Avatar

      Jack

      August 20, 2020 at 1:43 pm

      You’re on here every day bitching about Thailand, I seriously hope you don’t live here because you need to GTFO, or STFU.

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    August 19, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Expats don’t want be anybody’s backup or option 2! They didn’t get an invitation but because no one showed up, you now want to invite them and expect to be able to charge the same price.

    I can’t go for that
    No can do

  3. Avatar

    RametinNonta

    August 19, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Are Farangs still forbidden to ride inter-provincial buses? Are Farangs still refused admittance to Wat Po? You have to go-along to get-along.

  4. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    August 20, 2020 at 3:22 am

    “stimilus” lol

  5. Avatar

    Christopher Bela.

    August 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I can’t see Marisa keeping her job for long. Treating foreigners equally or fairly is simply not the norm in Asia.

    • Avatar

      Tim

      August 25, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      That’s only your view according to your own experience.
      In Europe, museum access if free for all young european travellers, not from people outside Europe.

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Thailand

Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends

The Thaiger

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Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Meandering Tales

A holiday-led economic recovery. That appears to be a part of the government’s agenda following yesterday’s meeting of the Thai cabinet. 2 new holiday weekends have been created, one in November, one in December, in efforts to further stimulate the economy. In both cases the extended weekends will be 4 days each, adding the Thursdays and Fridays before the weekend.

Tip: Book any flights early to get the best discount on tickets if you intend to fly anywhere for the newly scheduled long weekends.

Given the exodus of foreigner this week, there will be fewer of the ‘stranded’ expats and foreign visitors to add to the economic tally of the additional holidays.

The 2 long weekends have now been approved and Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha specifically noted that they were intended to stimulate local tourism. A similar 4-day long weekend at the start of this month was a relative success encouraging Thais to go on short breaks, but it did little for the the mostly deserted tourist streets of Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui.

The 2 new long weekends were proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

In November there will be an extended 4 day weekend which will run from November 19-22 with the Thursday and Friday declared special holiday. The break will fall in the middle of the scheduled school term break between November 13 and December 1. The term break was pushed forward due to the late start of the school term because of the Covid-19 situation in Thailand the late return to class by students.

The school break was pushed back from next month to November due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the current school term to start late.

The second new holiday, in December, will be Thursday, December 10 – Sunday, December 13. Constitution Day falls on December 10 and the annual Father’s Day holiday on December 5 has now been pushed back to the following Friday, to create the extended weekend.

So, put it in your diaries…

• November 19-22

• December 10-13

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Tourism

Thai hotels concerned extra holidays may not benefit all

Maya Taylor

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Thai hotels concerned extra holidays may not benefit all | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Katie Musial on Unsplash

As the Cabinet confirms two additional long weekends in November and December, the country’s hotels are concerned that not all operators will benefit. The extra holidays, running from November 19 to 22, and from December 10-13, are being introduced to further boost domestic tourism. Although they have been given a cautious welcome by hotel operators, the Thai Hotels Association points out that some properties will benefit more than others.

The Bangkok Post reports that the THA is concerned about domestic tourists’ ongoing purchasing power, due to a number of holiday weekends taking place recently, including the Songkran replacement holidays in July and again earlier this month. The association says there’s a chance only those who can afford another trip will travel during the November and December holidays, and their spending power means they’re more likely to book higher end, 5-star properties.

THA president, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, says not everyone will be able to afford air tickets, in addition to hotel accommodation and the cost of leisure activities at their destination. If only the wealthier can travel, they are also more likely to favour luxury accommodation.

“When luxury hotels have more affordable prices after enrolling in domestic stimulus campaigns, tourists who still have strong purchasing power will pick these hotels first.”

Marisa adds that with all properties sharing the same small pool of target customers, namely Thai citizens and expats, competition is tough. She is calling on the government to provide additional incentives to help operators outside of the luxury, 5-star category. The THA acknowledges that the November and December holidays are likely to provide a boost for hotels in the north of the country, which is usually popular during the winter season.

During the recent holidays, hotel bookings were up 20 – 30%, with some hotels enjoying a 40% increase due to their location. Marisa says the huge slump in international tourists means properties are now relying on government conferences and seminars to make up some of the shortfall. However, the delay in budget spending from October will have a negative impact.

“Hotels should have higher bookings from state agencies for October, but the delayed budget has stagnated this segment.”

With most operators still struggling with debts, the THA is calling on the Finance Ministry to extend the debt moratorium and to create a tourism fund whereby hotels can use their shares to avail of loans, re-purchasing the shares once financial stability returns.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members

Caitlin Ashworth

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Work permits for top tier Thailand Elite Card members | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Elite

In an effort to give the economy an extra boost, the government will discuss adding work permit privileges for top tier Thailand Elite Card members who invest a minimum of $1 million USD in Thailand.

The scheme will draw more investment to Thailand, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, governor Yuthasak Supasorn. While the types of investments are up to the members, the government recommends property investment. The property sector was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thailand Elite members are on Elite Visas for 5 to 20 year stays. The website says the goal of the program is to “encourage more tourists to come over and stimulate the Kingdom’s bustling tourism industry, as well as to attract more foreign capital to boost the economy.”

There are 9 membership categories for the Thailand Elite Card. Members get privileges like expedited immigration lines at the airport and limousine pickup at the airport. Only those in the top tier categories, costing 1 to 2 million baht, plus a minimum investment of $1 million USD within 1 year, will be eligible for the new work permit.

Member applications have been at a record high over the past 2 months with a monthly average of 300 to 500 applications, according to Somchai Soongswang, the president of Thailand Privilege Card which operates the Thailand Elite Card scheme.

In August and September, 200 applicants were approved each month. Before the pandemic, only 100 memberships were approved per month. It takes 15 to 45 days to have the membership approved. Members must be screened through the Immigration Bureau, and some also need to pass additional screening through national intelligence agencies.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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