Thai government cuts local alcohol tax to zero to boost tourism and economy

Photo courtesy of เศรษฐา ทวีสิน - Srettha Thavisin (Facebook)

The Thai government has announced a tax reduction on local alcohol as part of a wider review of laws hindering domestic tourism and economic growth. Revealed on January 2 at the Government House, Prime Minister Settha Thavisin stated that the restructuring of excise and various national taxes, including reducing domestic alcohol tax to 0%, formed part of their strategy to stimulate the tourism and economy of the country.

Ministry of Finance Secretary Lawan Saengsanit reported the department is ready to announce measures to promote Thailand as a central hub for tourism and spending. The initiatives include adjusting the tax structure on alcoholic beverages and local spirits, as well as considering the abolition of duty-free shops at all inbound airports. The aim is to encourage Thai citizens and foreign tourists to spend and purchase more within the country, rather than from duty-free shops.

For the fiscal year 2023, the excise department collected a total of 177,596 million baht (US$5.19 million) in alcohol, beer, and beverage taxes. This was broken down into 64,168 million baht (US$1.8 million) from alcohol tax, 86,480 million baht (US$2.5 million) from beer tax, and 26,948 million baht (US$788,654) from beverage tax.

In related news, Thailand’s Progressive Liquor Bill, aiming for fair rules in alcohol production, gained attention in coalition talks. Proposed amendments may reshape the market dynamics, fostering competition and supporting local producers. Industry leaders express mixed views, while political parties signal potential legislative changes for a more equitable alcohol sector.

In the same way, the Move Forward Party’s bid to liberalise Thailand’s alcohol industry sparks hope among small businesses. Seeking fair competition, the party plans to amend restrictive laws in its initial parliamentary actions.

Entrepreneurs, like Supapong Pruenglampoo of Sandport Brewery, express the need for regulatory changes to foster growth. While concerns about potential social impacts arise, supporters believe liquor liberalisation can drive economic growth and make Thailand a global hub for craft beer tourism.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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