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Thailand travel tax. Good idea but…

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Thailand travel tax. Good idea but… | The Thaiger
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by Don Ross –ttrweekly.com

“The changes to the law came into effect on May 20. Now, the panic button has been pressed. A workable package and collection process needs to be hammered out and fast.”

Thailand is looking to introduce a tourist tax, either on arrival or departure, that will be, according to officials, used to fund accident insurance and finance restoration of tourist attractions and the environment. Well that’s the theory. Don Ross from ttrweekly.com says it’s a great idea but is wary of the implementation…

Read the original Thiager article about the proposed Tourist Tax HERE.

A talking topic for years, this time round some progress has been achieved. New legislation written in the Tourism Act allows the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to collect and manage the levy and the start-up date is 1 October (start of the government’s fiscal year).

As for the challenges, the government and research partner, Naresuan University, has just six months to conduct a survey and put in place a mechanism to collect the tax.

Naresuan’s survey team will have to check out all the worldwide examples of successful travel tax schemes. There are hundreds and they all have various objectives from fighting ‘overtourism’ to simply lining the pockets of a territory’s ruler.

Take your pick from the selection and then give it a local twist to please the electorate such as suggesting the funds will save the environment and critics are likely to be silenced.

The guessing game on the actual levy is hovering optimistically over the 100 baht fee button, paid by all tourists entering the country. A ballpark estimate says that would reap 3,800 million baht for the ministry coffers.

The problem with that simple equation is the credibility of the count. Are there really 38 million tourists, or do we mean a head count at the turnstile?

If it is the latter there could be calls for politically correct exceptions. For starters do we really want to take 100 baht every time a Lao trader crosses the border to sell their wares in Thailand?

Then there are the thousands of foreigners who work in Thailand or stay on retirement or other long-stay visas. They are also required to cough up proof of expensive insurance cover so would they be exempt?

The complications are many and not least the collection process emerges as one potential headache.

If you’d like to read the rest of the article, click HERE.

PHOTO: The Jakarta Post

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Thailand

1.5 million Thais approaching poverty line

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1.5 million Thais approaching poverty line | The Thaiger

A new report by the World Bank has indicated that 1.5 million Thais are approaching the poverty line after Covid-19 ravaged the tourism-dependent economy. In 2020, the report says the poverty ratio in Thailand increased to 8.8%, compared with 2019’s figure of 6.2%.

The report is troubling as the Thai economy already passed rock bottom in the 2nd quarter of 2020, with the the 2nd wave of Covid hitting just before the year end. Now, as many provinces have essentially went into lockdown from domestic and foreign tourism, workers are out of jobs, whereas before, domestic tourism was serving as a way to help businesses survive.

The government stimulated the economy by spending the equivalent of 13% of the gross domestic product, but the World Bank is predicting it may take 2 more years for Thailand to return its economic situation to its pre-Covid state. But the news is not all bad as the World Bank expects the Thai GDP to grow by 4% this year, instead of declining by 6.5% last year.

Such reasoning is due to the expectations of the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out, and global economic growth. But if the Covid-19 situation becomes more severe, the expected economic growth would decline to 2.4%. Political instability in Thailand is another risk factor as months of protests have shaken views on Thailand’s government, which has invoked the lese majeste defamation law on protesters who were criticising the Royal family. Human rights organisations have issued statements that condemned the government as it began charging minors with the law.

Today, Thailand reports 309 new cases of Covid-19, with 80 being locally transmitted. Most of the cases were due to active testing and 12 were from those already in quarantine. Thailand is expected to receive 50,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinesby the first week of February. The shipment is part of the first lot of 26 million doses on the agreed purchase in October of last year.

SOURCE: TNA

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Thailand

CCSA Update: 309 new Covid-19 infections in Thailand

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CCSA Update: 309 new Covid-19 infections in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

The CCSA’s daily briefing today started with an update about a NBT news presenter who has attended the daily briefings at the CCSA studio and testing positive for Covid-19. The CCSA spokesman then announced that all people working in the CCSA studio, including himself, are defined as a “low risk” group for infections.

The CCSA spokesman says he, together with all those involved with any risk, will take a swab test this afternoon and will report the test results to the public later on. The infected NBT newscaster has been sent to the hospital already.

Today, 309 new Covid-19 cases were announced from the last 24 hours. The majority of the infections were detected from active case testing, accounting for 217 cases. Most of them were migrant workers. 80 were local transmission, while 12 cases were detected in state quarantine.

According to the CCSA spokesman, key measures to be rolled out next week will be the acceleration on proactive testing in Samut Sakhon and the outer western areas of Bangkok where the infection rate is still high. Numbers and reports from the active findings are expected to be complete by the end of next week will serve as key factors for a review of the current restrictions in place.

CCSA Update: 309 new Covid-19 infections in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA Daily Briefing

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Thai tourism operators want to offer vaccination-inclusive packages

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Thai tourism operators want to offer vaccination-inclusive packages | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

Vaccination seems to be the great new hope of most of Thailand’s businesses battered by Covid-19, especially the tourism industry. Thai tour operators are now floating the idea of “vaccination tour packages” to attract inbound travellers after the first inoculations are distributed in February.

Sort of an STV with vaccination included.

The tourism plan is expected to potentially benefit those inbound tour operators, hotels and destinations that have been massively affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

The Tourism Council of Thailand president Chamnan Srisawat explains… “The one month tour packages are expected to cost 150,000 baht, including a 14 day quarantine in an alternative state quarantine or alternative local quarantine facility, and include a vaccination cost.”

The idea is, of course, still in the early stages and needs more discussions because there are still uncertainties of travel rules with vaccine certificates. The ‘idea’ also, again, targets the high end of the travel market that even the current STV has been unable to attract.

Chotechuang Soorangura, the NS Travel and Tour associate MD, speaking to the Bangkok Post, said… “Thailand is not considered a Covid vaccine hub as the country cannot produce a mass supply attracting a large volume of tourists. Most people would rather get inoculated in their own country before going abroad as they want to avoid being exposed to the virus while travelling.”

He also suggests that the country should instead promote itself as a “wellness destination and medical tourism hub” (a suggestion that has been made many, many times before).

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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