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Government pledges help for Phuket tourism industry

Maya Taylor

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Government pledges help for Phuket tourism industry | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A near deserted Layan beach, north Phuket, yesterday.
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As Phuket’s tourism industry continues to fight for survival amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the PM is ordering an advisory team to finish work on recovery proposals received from the private sector and submit them to the government’s Covid-19 task force for approval.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says this is expected to happen shortly, as he acknowledged the severe impact on Phuket’s economy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Thailand’s borders.

“Covid-19 has delivered a heavy blow to Phuket’s tourism, as 90% of the sector’s annual revenue is generated by foreign tourists.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, there were between 170,000 and 180,000 people employed in Phuket’s tourism industry, prior to Covid-19. That number is now believed to be around 80,000, according to data from the Labour Ministry.

The Phuket Tourist Association says the island is expected to lose between 200 and 320 billion baht of tourism revenue this year. In 2019, over 14 million foreign visitors brought in 470 billion baht for the province, 90% of its tourism revenue. By contrast, PTA president, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, says Phuket has reported 150 billion baht in revenue during the first 10 months of 2020, of which 100 billion came from foreigners and 50 billion from domestic tourists.

Revenue is down 80% on the same period last year, with Bhummikitti warning that most businesses in the tourism sector will not survive without government aid. He points out that the province has 1,900 rooms available for alternative local state quarantine and is ready to receive international visitors.

Meanwhile, the government is considering a number of short-term measures to revive Phuket’s tourism sector, including extending its domestic travel stimulus package to December 2021. Officials are also looking at possible improvements to the “We Travel Together” scheme, including increasing the Monday to Thursday hotel subsidy from 40% to 50%.

The PM and other government officials recently visited Phuket to hear suggestions from local officials and business operators. One suggestion was to expand the use of tourism coupons currently used for food, to subsidise tour packages, car hire, and spa bookings. Officials are also considering extending the current subsidy on air tickets to include car hire and fuel. Meanwhile, a request has been put to the Labour Ministry to contribute 7,500 baht a month for each worker in hotels, spas, and tour companies, to help bosses keep them employed.

Danucha says if approval is granted to improve the domestic travel stimulus campaign and subsidise workers’ salaries, this should not only apply to Phuket, but should be rolled out nationwide. Meanwhile, officials are also looking at transforming Phuket into a leading medical tourism destination, with plans for a multi-billion baht medical hub just north of the airport.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mark Bangkok

    November 9, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Well well what a surprise. Another committee ‘advisory team Thailand the land of talking and not tackling serious problems. A miserable failed Kingdom

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    November 9, 2020 at 11:41 am

    The 7,500 baht per month idea is good but only helps a portion of those effected. The we travel together scheme is an already failed idea. A slight increase is better than nothing but will mostly help those in cities near Bangkok as before. To help Phuket the plan needs to target them specifically but then that’s unfair to other places hurt just as badly. Everything else is long term and does nothing to wean Phuket off of tourism. Honestly I don’t see a lot of help coming from these ideas.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 9, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      As you say, it would be unfair to other places and to others to pay 7,500 baht a month just to those affected in Phuket and the government simply can’t afford it – the 5,000 baht a month lasted for three months and Thailand simply doesn’t have the money.

      … and, yes, the “we travel together” scheme is much like the “eat out to help out” scheme in the UK – a nice idea, but doomed.

      • Avatar

        James

        November 10, 2020 at 1:34 am

        Issan John

        The “eat out to help” scheme was very successful financially compared to what had happened in the months before the scheme but yes the doom it created by increasing the number of cases and thus more deaths was a disaster.

        Still, there is hope on the horizon for the West at least as we will probably be the first to get the new virus inoculations which are as of today on the horizon.

        In six months’ time, we in the West should be out of it.

        Still, Thailand is developing its own drug, you might get a sniff of one in ten years’ time, but it probably will not work.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 9, 2020 at 11:57 am

    The Thailand Prime minister, Mister Chan O Cha Cha (a ballroom dancing enthusiast) springs into action and orders the Phucket advisory committees to advise.
    They advise they cannot yet as they have not decided whether to have chicken fried rice, or spicy scrimp soup at break time.
    The chairman announces this looking wise, grim, and sincere, which is hard with just one face.
    The prime minister states severely that they should stop delaying to make more expenses, and advise on Phuket!
    Baht signs vanish from their eyes and they nod like demented woodpeckers.

  4. Avatar

    Patrick Nouvel

    November 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    With any quarantine obligations, unless for 3 days, time to check best tests, then set a safiest countries allowed list for it, othe meaures will either cost too much for liitle help or be meaningless. Whatever best tourism will suffer for at least 2 or 3 years.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 9, 2020 at 3:05 pm

      Exactly. There is no solution, as global tourism will not return for at least two years; even trying to cut that short by letting in fewer numbers will only make the problem worse elsewhere, for other businesses.

      It’s happened and there’s no way out, for Thailand or anyone else.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        November 12, 2020 at 4:30 am

        The world’s major airlines are now predicting 5 years for longhaul to recover minimum and are not putting staff on furlough or unpaid leave,they are letting them go.

        Selecting,training and maintaining currency for crews on wide body’s is a long expensive process.

        The company’s have huge amounts of money tied up in these former crew members.they can not be easily or quickly replaced and it is no simple matter to simply recall them and re type rate them after 6 months of not flying.

        numbers for the major airlines that feed Thailand are now up to around the 50 percent mark with a similar number of aircraft placed in long term storage many destined never to fly again.

        the longer it goes on the more crews and aircraft go in direct proportion.(each aircraft normaly has 6-8 crews to get an idea of the numbers involved)

        The terrorist attacks in the usa seriously damaged civil aviation for 5 years worldwide.

        I personally think the global recovery for long haul travel especially tourism related will take a least the same amount of time probably much longer to recover after this.

        My personal view is it will be 10 years minimum to recover subject to
        No more catastrophic events occurring.

        Obviously I do not know the future,just my 2 bahts worth.

        Anybody who thinks there is going to be a mad rush to the airport the day this ends is almost certainly being very unrealistic.

        I sincerely hope I am 100 percent wrong.

    • Avatar

      Pierre

      November 9, 2020 at 3:11 pm

      But which countries are seen as safe?

      We are having countries that are having sky-high cases and we have some countries where corona is non-existing (according to their governments).

      I do not believe that any country can be seen as safe.

      So as more people has mentioned, we have to someway learn to live with corona.
      The immunity has to be build up during the next 5 – 10 years, just like the ordinary flu with help from both vaccines and infection people among.

      • Avatar

        David Barker

        November 10, 2020 at 1:08 am

        Fiddling while Rome burns continues.
        People with retirement visa and or homes can’t return.
        For me the Thai authorities have always been anti foreigner particularly westerners on many things.
        If it wasn’t such a lovely country many would have left a long time ago.
        We all know what counts…..money

        • Avatar

          cindy masters

          November 14, 2020 at 9:56 am

          Very true

  5. Avatar

    Jason

    November 9, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    There are some truly ridiculous comments on this site. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had some wonderful times in Phuket and that I came to know the people there (the ordinary man and woman and their children) I wouldn’t bother. But I did come to know and appreciate these people. Phuket is an island. There is one land link only (not too difficult for the Thai police to patrol). So open Phuket up to people from low risk countries!! PCR test before arrival. Negative test….enjoy your holiday! Positive test…. ASQ Quarantine! It’s that simple…even the PM can make it happen without a junket to Phuket. Let’s face it…these guys are soldiers, not diplomats or leaders….

  6. Avatar

    Robert Elliot

    November 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    There are still 80000 people still employed in the Phuket Tourism industry. How? Doing What?

    • Avatar

      7.62mm of darwin

      November 11, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      No farang no Phuket as I once stupidly said to an Aus/Thai girl she went birko until I explained that I had first been in Phuket in 1964, and believe me there was really very little but the farangs changed all that and Phuket became well Phuket. What will Phuket become now. A ghost town I hope not

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Tourism

Former WTO director cautions against re-opening Thailand too quickly

Maya Taylor

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Former WTO director cautions against re-opening Thailand too quickly | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bao Menglong on Unsplash

The former director general of the World Trade Organisation has issued a caution against Thailand throwing open its borders too early. Supachai Panitchpakdi says Covid-19 is still very much a threat, pointing to other countries that appear trapped in a cycle of easing restrictions, followed by renewed lockdowns. His comments come as England emerges from a national lockdown, only for many areas to find themselves subject to even tougher measures, at least until Christmas.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Supachai says the cycle of lockdown/open up/lockdown that’s being seen in many Western countries is not just damaging their economies, it’s also leading to more infections and deaths. He warns that re-opening Thailand’s borders too quickly could have long-term negative impacts for the Kingdom.

“Thailand should gradually open the country, because human resources are the most important factor. It takes about 20 to 30 years for human development, and if those people die, it will be very difficult to restore the lost human resources.”

Within Thailand there is a polarised view as to whether Thailand should be broadly re-opening its borders or not. Successive polls show that the Thai population is, generally, suspicious about re-opening too soon, especially whilst parts of the rest of the world are still trying to contain their infection rates. On the other hand Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated with millions unemployed.

Supachai’s comments come as the government has tentatively opened the borders to foreign tourists, albeit at a significant cost and inconvenience to those who might want to visit. There is both a long term STV, special tourist visa, and a modified general tourist visa for up to 60 days. In both cases there is currently a 14 day mandatory quarantine to be served and a number of other paperwork hurdles to overcome.

Supachai says Thailand’s economy is likely to shrink by 5 or 6% this year, a change from the previous forecast of 7 or 8%. He adds that he’s hopeful the economy and exports will recover next year, pointing out that if a quick recovery is seen in China and ASEAN nations, it will help Thai exports. He warns that an appreciating baht could threaten Thailand’s exports and that exporters will need to look at ways of increasing their competitive edge.

He has also called for a hike in interest rates, pointing out that the low rate of 0.5% is having a detrimental effect on people’s savings. Another fallout from the pandemic is an increase in household debt, with Supachai expressing concern that Thai people are getting into debt at a much younger age compared to the trend in other countries.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Finance Minister says Thailand’s GDP will take 2 years to recover

The Thaiger

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Finance Minister says Thailand’s GDP will take 2 years to recover | The Thaiger

Thailand’s finance minister says the countrys GDP will take 2 years to recover the 9% it has lost since the Covid pandemic ravaged the economy. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the Finance Minister, says the economy would have expanded by 3% this year if it weren’t for the pandemic.

“The pandemic crisis will make the economy contract by around 6% in 2020, therefore there is a 9% gap that needs to be recuperated. If Thailand’s GDP growth could arrive at 4% in 2021 and 2022, this would propel the country’s economic growth momentum to return to a normal ratio.”

The National Economic and Social Development says Thailand’s GDP contracted by 6.4% year-on-year in the 3rd quarter, with a yearly economic contraction projected to be 6%. Previously, it was predicted to contract by 7.5%, however, since the global economy is projected to contract by 3.5% and the global trade is expected to decline by 11%, the number has been updated.

The seasonal adjustment saw the economy expand by 6.5% quarter on quarter from the 2nd quarter, with it contracting by 6.7% in the first 9 months. However, the NESDC’s projection doesn’t account for the impact from political conflicts or a 2nd wave of outbreaks.

Such political conflicts as the protests against the monarchy have seen some authorities, such as the Chief ASEAN economist, saying it won’t help Thailand’s weak economic recovery. But Krisada says the Thai economy is expected to recover gradually, with a possibility of vaccine use and the global economic recovery helping to push forward the recovery next year.

Arkhom says the government reportedly has 30% fiscal space left in its 2021 budget, to help cushion the economic crisis. That percentage is about 980 billion baht worth of capital, which excludes the remaining sum of the 1 trillion baht loan decree.

As for the 2022 budget, he says it is still being designed to support economic growth through public investments in infrastructure and energy, with some projects relying more heavily on help from the private sector.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength

The Thaiger

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Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength | The Thaiger

The Bank of Thailand has moved forward measures, originally meant to begin early 2021, but most of which will now take effect from end of this month. The end result is that the new rules will make it easier for Thais to shuffle money overseas and invest in foreign assets. It will also make is easier for Thai citizens to hold foreign currency in local banks. The new rules will also require the registration of local and overseas bond investors.

“Following the U.S. elections and positive news on Covid-19 vaccine development, investors have turned toward investing in emerging markets, including Thailand. The situation has resulted in strengthening the baht quickly and can impact economic recovery.”

“The registration of bond investors will allow close monitoring of investor’s behaviours and thereby enable the implementation of targeted measures in a timely manner.”

Last week the Bank of Thailand assessed that the Thai baht’s recent rapid gains could affect the country’s “fragile” economic recovery. The Thai government has called on the central bank to do its best to use what tools it has at its disposal to restrain the baht to protect exports.

Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group, says that he central bank also will continue to resort to direct intervention in foreign-exchange markets.

“The issue here is that local investors have a very strong home bias. Making it easier to invest overseas may not actually encourage them to do so.”

The Thai baht has been the 2nd best performer in Asia this month after foreign investors turned net buyers of almost $2.4 billion of bonds and stocks as appetite returns for riskier emerging-market assets amid a weak dollar, according to Bloomberg.

The Thai baht had recently rallied 8.8% from this year’s low in April, hitting a 10 month high last week.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

This morning, Thai time…

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht's strength | News by The Thaiger

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