Firms urged to promote tourist VAT refunds

PHUKET TOWN: To help boost the tourism industry and the local economy, all tourism-related businesses should promote and take part in offering value-added tax (VAT) refunds for tourists, Suri Buakhom, Deputy Director-General of the Revenue Department, said today. Speaking at an all-day seminar to promote and explain the system, known as VRT (VAT Refunds for Tourists), K. Suri said, “All businesses in the tourism industry should join the VRT system. VRT encourages tourists to spend more during their stay in Thailand. “Other countries promoting tourism operate a VRT-type system, so if Thailand wants to get much more revenue from tourism, then VRT is an appropriate system [to do that],” he added. Chartchai Debpang, Chief of Service Promotion at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, also at the seminar, explained that VRT would boost tourism by offering tourists another reason to come to Thailand and to encourage them to spend more, thus boosting the local economy. Ratana Pechvijitra, the Director of the VRT Office, supported the call, saying, “On average the total VAT refunded to tourists each year is 200 million baht. The more the Revenue Department refunds VAT [to tourists], the more Thailand gets income [from the money circulating in the economy].” An officer from the VRT Office explained that joining the system is free. Businesses that join are promoted on the Revenue Department’s website, are provided with free brochures explaining VRT in English, Chinese and Japanese, and receive free advice on the VRT system. For full details of VRT, see

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