Phuket to benefit from continuation of stimulus package

PHUKET: Less than one month after Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that the free tourist visa scheme would end on March 5, 2010, the Thai Government has announced that the tourism stimulus package will continue for another year, along with US$10,000 worth of free riot insurance for tourists.

The extension of the stimulus package was approved by the cabinet today in response to a request from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The extension will be effective from April 1, 2010 and go through to March 31, 2011 and appears to leave a three and a half week window in which tourist visas for Thailand will be charged for.

The stimulus package includes: free riot protection insurance worth US$10,000 for each foreign tourist; reduced aircraft landing and parking fees, including those at Phuket International Airport; help for state agencies to hold seminars and field trips in the country to boost domestic spending; and tax deductions for business operators who organize domestic seminars, training courses and trips to tourist destinations such as Phuket..

The extension of the package came on the back of a report to cabinet that inbound foreign tourism arrivals for 2009 dropped 3 percent below those in 2008, resulting in an 8 percent drop in revenue to 527 billion baht.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry told cabinet that it expected inbound tourism arrivals for 2010 to increase by about 10 percent, to between 15.3 and 15.5 million, provided there were no major political disruptions throughout the year.

The $10,000 free riot insurance coverage was introduced last year and initiated by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) in response to international insurance firms’ refusal to sell insurance coverage to visitors to Thailand following the 2008 closure of Thailand airports by members of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

When the insurance coverage was first introduced last year, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of the TCT, said the government had set aside 190.75 million baht ($US5.820 million) for the initial six month period covering May to October, 2009, with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports responsible for paying the insurance premium of $1 per visitor.

The insurance policy provides for payments of up to $10,000 in the event of death, injury, and/or trip inconvenience, and appears to cover only people in possession of a 60-day tourist visa. Resident expatriates living and working in Thailand on non-immigrant visas do not appear to be covered.

For our earlier report, click here.


Phuket News

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