Thai tourism revolution: Duty-free ditch and booze bonanza

Photo courtesy of The Nation

In a bold move set to redefine Thailand‘s tourism landscape, the Finance Ministry is gearing up to propose changes that could reshape the way tourists spend their cash.

The Finance Ministry is set to pitch a revolutionary plan to Cabinet today, December 19, aiming to suspend duty-free shops in the arrivals section of all airports. Lavaron Sangsnit, the ministry’s permanent secretary, shared the motivation behind the move.

Lavaron stated…

“When we suspend arrivals duty-free shops, it will enable Thai and foreign tourists to spend domestically instead of spending at duty-free shops.”

This strategic shift is designed to boost local businesses, as domestic shops stand to benefit from the redirected tourist spending.

But what about duty-free giant King Power? Fear not, as Lavaron assured that the behemoth is on board, ready to embrace the measure in a bid to supercharge tourism and the economy. It seems the kingdom is keen to overhaul the tourist experience to be truly immersive and beneficial to the local economy.

Lavaron’s vision

Lavaron’s vision doesn’t stop there – a tax reduction on alcoholic beverages is also on the cards. This includes your favourite wines and community liquors. The aim? Making these beverages more accessible to tourists without burning a hole in their pockets.

He claimed…

“We must make tourists feel that coming to Thailand is like coming to a paradise, which covers eating, residing, travelling and playing.”

Community-based tourism promotion is an integral part of this plan, ensuring tourists have easy access to local liquors. As we await the Cabinet’s verdict, insiders reveal that these measures are not just festive cheer; they are set to kick in on January 1 of the upcoming year, ushering in a new era for Thailand’s tourism landscape, reported The Nation.

The Excise Department’s director-general, Ekniti Nitithanprapas, sees this as a golden opportunity to position Thailand as the pinnacle of shopping and tourism. Despite potential hits to the department’s revenue, Ekniti remains optimistic.

Ekniti said…

“Even though those measures could affect the department’s revenue, we believe that spending will be increased.”

The director-general goes on to spill the beans that alongside excise tax reductions, a reduction in the import tariff on wines is under scrutiny by the Fiscal Policy Office.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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