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Ministry unveils ‘ABC strategy’ to revive tourism

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has unveiled its “ABC strategy” to revive the tourism industry, aiming to promote comprehensive income distribution and boost the country’s competitiveness globally.

he ministry announced its strategy on Tuesday after industry representatives joined Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn in a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday.

At the meeting, they reported the progress of the government’s stimulus campaigns and planned tourism promotions for the rest of the year.

The ABC strategy comprises three key elements:

A: Accelerate travel/tourism spending. Thailand will focus on extending the period of stay for foreign visitors by waiving visa fees until the end of 2022. Applicants for tourist visas or visas on arrival will also receive extended stays from 30 and 15 days, respectively, to 45 days. The measure is believed to help increase tourist spending and attract more visitors under the “Visit Thailand Year 2022-2023” campaign planned for the rest of 2022 and next year.

B. Booster. This aims to stimulate and boost both domestic and international travel by getting airlines to increase seat capacity, introduce new flight routes and expand chartered flights to secondary tourism provinces to ensure comprehensive income distribution. The ministry’s aim is for Thailand by the end of 2022 to achieve 50 per cent of domestic and international seat capacity of 2019, or before the Covid outbreak.

Other booster campaigns include organising trade shows and roadshows overseas to attract potential visitors, as well as extending existing tourism stimulus campaigns until the end of the year. These campaigns are, for example, We Travel Together, Tour Tiew Thai, and tax breaks for companies organising seminars or exhibitions in targeted tourism provinces.

C. Cost-effective. This strategy aims to help tourism businesses reduce their operation costs and facilitate business expansion through a series of state funded measures.

Examples are granting tax breaks to hotel operators who have invested in building renovations and branch expansions, and implementing new technology to increase operational efficiency; extending the tax loss carry forward period from five years to ten years; reducing land and building tax for hotel operators in steps from 75 to 25 per cent between 2023 and 2025; and relaxing regulations in hiring migrant labourers, important manpower for the tourism industry.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday that the prime minister promised to discuss the feasibility of these measures with related agencies and make suitable adjustments.

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