Prominent Pattaya hotelier urges next Thai government to extend tourism-subsidy scheme
A prominent Pattaya hotelier has urged the next Thai government to extend its tourism-subsidy scheme to promote domestic travel. Yuwathida Jeerapat, managing director for J Pattaya Hotel Group, expressed confidence that the “We Travel Together” programme, launched in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, has positively impacted domestic tourism.
The latest round of funding, referred to as “We Travel Together’s fifth phase,” began in March and will run until December 31. With a total cost of 2 billion baht, the scheme offers government subsidies covering 40% of room rates, capped at 3,600 baht per room per night. A total of 560,000 room subsidies are available, each accompanied by a 600-baht voucher for travellers to spend on food or services. This offer concludes at the end of the year or when all rooms have been booked, Pattaya Mail reported.
This promotion is exclusively for Thai nationals. Yuwathida warned that if the programme is not extended, many Thais may choose to travel abroad instead, negatively impacting domestic travel and the hotel industry. She emphasised the importance of Thai tourists, as foreign tourism has not yet fully recovered. The majority of guests at J Hotels are not Europeans or Chinese, who tend to spend more money than the current guests, predominantly Malaysians and South Koreans. Although an increase in Chinese tourists has been observed, their numbers are still insufficient to boost profits significantly.
Yuwathida called on the Tourism and Sports Ministry to continue promoting domestic travel and collaborate with the Transport Ministry, Airports of Thailand Plc., and the Royal Thai Navy, which manages U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, to develop the tourism industry and ensure safety. She also urged the upcoming government to address the ongoing labour issue. Hotels experienced a 50% reduction in the workforce during the pandemic, with most employees not returning from neighbouring countries or more rural areas.
By extending the “We Travel Together” programme and addressing relevant challenges, Thailand’s future government can work towards revitalising the nation’s tourism industry and maintaining steady growth in the sector.
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