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Thai hotels call for extension to domestic travel stimulus packages



PHOTO: Flickr / Marike de Meij

The Thai Hotels Association is urging the government to extend the domestic travel stimulus schemes, set to end on September 30. THA president, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, says the stimulus packages, “We Travel Together”, which subsidises flights and hotel accommodation, and the Tour Teaw Thai co-payment scheme, must be continued until the current Covid-19 crisis is under control.

She points out that despite no national lockdown, Thais are reluctant to travel, which is having a devastating impact on the hotel industry. A recent survey found that nearly half of Thai hotels only have enough liquidity to keep going for 3 months or less. Marisa says it’s vital the government’s tourism stimulus schemes are extended to the end of 2021 and beyond.

“Thailand needs a longer time to contain the spread of the virus because the infection rate of this variant runs faster than the previous 2 rounds, not to mention the higher level of fear among the public. This time will be different and more challenging for the tourism sector as people voluntarily stay home despite no rigid lockdown orders from the government.”

The Bangkok Post reports that a number of Thai hotels are taking part in a scheme which enables them to access soft loans and debt restructuring, but Marisa warns that this will not be enough to help them meet their costs.

“The official order from the government to close hotels in risk areas during the first outbreak prompted the Social Security Fund to compensate 62% of salary to employees for 3 months last year. Even though there is no such enforcement this year, the impact of travel restrictions and the ban on many activities produce the same bitter result.”

She adds that while the THA and the Thai Chamber of Commerce have proposed a monthly salary co-payment plan, there has been no response from the government.

“From the current situation, the only solution for employees to get financial aid from the SSF is to be unemployed first, but hotels don’t want to lay off staff because skilled workers in the hospitality sector will be difficult to find when we want them back.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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