The Tourism and Sports Minister says that if the Phuket sandbox is a success, he will have talks with the Finance Ministry about allocating soft loans to tourism operators. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the loans would come from the government’s 500-billion-baht borrowing and would help tourism operators prepare for an October re-opening. In the interim, he says domestic tourists can help the sector to survive.
“It’s impossible to wait until daily infection rates drop. Low-risk provinces have to focus on increasing the number of domestic tourist trips. Apart from the 10 dark red zones with strict Covid-19 controls, in which people are urged to limit their movements, there are opportunities in other provinces to resume leisure activities.”
According to a Bangkok Post report, Phiphat says provincial governors will have to decide if domestic tourists can travel in low infection areas without facing restrictions. Between January and May, domestic tourists have taken 23.6 million trips, which is a reduction of nearly 8% year-on-year, even with 2020’s low figures. Revenue from domestic tourism is down over 35%, at 125 billion baht.
The government’s stimulus packages re-open for registration at the end of the month, but travel dates will depend on the Covid-19 situation. The “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” (We Travel Together) scheme subsidises hotel bookings, while “Tour Teaw Thai” subsidises domestic tour packages. Phiphat says both schemes will be extended until December and are expected to make a significant contribution to the economy.
He adds that, in the event that demand is low in the first 2 months, the Tourism Ministry will work with tourism operators and the National Economic and Social Development Council to make changes and increase the budget, to encourage more people to take domestic trips.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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