Thailand Will Subsidize Domestic Travel for Locals

Two million Thais can look forward to saving up to 40 percent on hotel stays and inter-provincial transportation for one trip between July and October.

Wat Chedi Liam, a temple outside Chiang Mai. (Photo: Mathew Schwartz/Unsplash)

As if residents of post-lockdown Thailand needed another excuse to explore more of the country, the Cabinet approved three tourism stimulus packages, worth 22.4 billion baht (roughly US$722.6 million) in total, earlier this week. According to the Bangkok Post, the scheme was proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, with funding taken from the Finance Ministry’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

The first part to be rolled out will be the 2.4 billion baht (US$77.4 million) “moral support” package, which aims to reward 1.2 million health volunteers and officials at sub-district hospitals with discounted holidays of no less than two days. Each person will be eligible to receive a subsidy of 2,000 baht (US$65) on a trip arranged through a tour firm, of which 13,000 are expected to profit from the scheme.

As for the wider public, the government hopes to boost local spending and stimulate two million trips between July and October. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says 24,700 accommodation providers and more than 36,700 eateries and tourism-related businesses nationwide will see increased revenues from the “traveling together” stimulus, worth 18 billion baht (US$580 million). Eligible travelers who go on holiday outside their home provinces will pay just 60 percent of accommodation rates as the subsidy covers the remaining 40 percent, to be capped at 3,000 baht (US$97) per night for up to five nights. In all, the government will be subsidizing a total of five million room nights. Up to 40 percent of money spent on food and other services will also be covered, with a maximum of 600 baht (US$19) per night for up to five nights.

It won’t just be hotel stays and meals that are ripe for a discount. Under the final package (“happiness-sharing trips”) worth 2 billion baht (US$64.5 million), the Thai government will subsidize up to 40 percent of domestic flight fares, tickets for inter-provincial buses, and car rental fees for two million people, though that is subject to a limit of 1,000 baht (US$32) per person. To be eligible, tourists should be booked into any of the lodgings covered under the “traveling together” stimulus package. Over the coming weeks, Thais will be able to register for the subsidies via a Krungthai Bank platform.

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