Tourism packages promised

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BANGKOK: A series of intensive tourism packages are to be implemented by mid-November to increase foreign visitor numbers during the remainder of the year, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.


Measures in the package include a tax measure for jewellery purchases, a tourism package with free flights to second-tier tourist provinces and a waiver for visa-on-arrival.

The measures should be implemented by Nov 15 and last through the end of the year, Mr Somkid said.

The government needs to sustain growth in the tourism industry because it is still uncertain whether the global trade war will have a spillover effect on tourist arrivals to Thailand, Mr Somkid said.

During the first nine months of the year, Thailand received 28.5 million international tourists, representing 8.7% year-on-year growth.

Private tourism operators are worried that Thailand may lose up to 1 million Chinese arrivals over the next six months if the country is unable to restore safety confidence after the Phoenix tour boat disaster off Phuket on July 5, killing 47 Chinese tourists.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Finance Ministry have been tasked with conducting an intensive tourism programme to attract foreign visitors.

Cooperation has also been initiated among tour operators and Thai Airways International.

“A tax measure for buying jewellery will help boost and create a multiplier effect in the jewellery industry, which covers many employees,” Mr Somkid said. “The government aims to support Thailand’s growth to become a hub for jewellery by 2021. The Finance Ministry is considering details of the measure.”

The TAT is required to work with Thai Airways and tour operators to implement tourism packages, such as offering free flight tickets to second-tier tourism provinces if visitors plan to visit both first-tier tourism provinces, such as Phuket and Chiang Mai, and second-tier provinces.

The measure will contribute to boosting tourism revenue in second-tier tourism provinces, Mr Somkid said.

He said the Immigration Bureau is required to study whether to implement a reduction or a total waiver of the B2,000 visa-on-arrival fee for 21 countries.

Mr Somkid said the visa-on-arrival exemption is expected to be proposed to the Cabinet soon.

“In my opinion, a B2,000 exemption for visa on arrival is an appropriate measure and very attractive to foreign visitors,” he said.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 27, 2018

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