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Thailand targets 10 million high-season domestic trips per month

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Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry has set a target of 10 million domestic trips per month during high season following the cabinet’s approval of more financial aid measures in November

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry has set a target of 10 million domestic trips per month during high season following the cabinet’s approval of more financial aid measures from November 3.

After the government lifted the lockdown in the second quarter, the number of domestic trips gradually picked up from merely 90,000 in April to 8.5 million in September, but has yet to cross the 10-million-trip threshold despite government stimulus schemes.

Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said improved scenarios are expected over the last two months of this year, the high season for the domestic market, while measures approved by the government may help operators run their businesses at a steadier pace.

The improved performance in domestic tourism started during the partial lockdown in May with 505,000 trips, before growing to 3.2 million in June, 7.4 million in July and 8.4 million in August.

Vichit Prakobgosol, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), said increasing the allocation of soft loans to 100 million baht (3.2 million USD) from 20 million and allowing the Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) to provide loan guarantees to operators that cannot access financial aid certainly can increase opportunities for operators to receive soft loans.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of the Phuket Tourist Association, said the cabinet approval of financial measures will help tourism operators retain their employees.

Thailand, a tourism-dependent economy, is forecast to welcome only 8 – 9 million foreign visitors this year, a drastic drop from last year’s 40 million, due to impacts of COVID-19, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT). Revenue from tourism contributed to about 11 – 12 percent of the country’s GDP in 2019.

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