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Thailand’s Tourism Stimulus Measures amid Political Heat .
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April 20, 2010 - PRLog -- It is undeniable that the image of the Thai tourism has been mostly affected since political rallies of yellows and reds flared up in Thailand. Although tourism activities could pick up their pace when the tension subsided, the sector has inevitably fallen victim to the recurring marches of colors.

According to the Federation of Thai Tourism Industry (FTTI), the latest violent political turmoil, from the activation of the State of Emergency to the 10 April bloodshed, has already taken its toll to a great extent. Not only visitors from Asia but also those from Europe have decided to call off their trips to Thailand as the authorities in their countries have banned citizens from entering the Kingdom while many other nations still remain on red alert.

The FTTI expects tourism-related businesses to face significant impacts in the next 4-6 months or from the second to third quarter of this year. Thailand could lose around 40 billion THB of income with 800,000-900,000 tourists less than normal, resembling that of last year’s Songkran chaos. As a result, this year’s target might be lower than the figure originally anticipated.

The government has been trying to boost the national tourism by applying various strategies in a hope to help business operators and attract more foreigners to Thailand. On 2 April 2010, the cabinet endorsed an extension on the implementation of the tourism stimulus package, which was due to expire on 31 March, to 31 December 2010 while foreign visitors would be exempted from visa fees until 31 March 2011.

The tourism stimulus package is divided into two sections. The first aims to attract tourists, consisting of the following:

1. Temporary visa fee exemption for foreigners, which has significantly helped increase the number of visitors, especially those from the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

2. An individual 10,000 USD sabotage insurance for each foreign visitor under a total budget of 518 million THB.

3. An extended reduction of landing and parking fees until 31 December 2010.

4. An extension of the sabotage insurance coverage period for tourists until 31 March 2011.

Meanwhile, the second portion of the package is for assisting business operators, consisting of the following:

1. Assistance in the company’s arrangement of seminars, workshops, and domestic trips to suit the budget with higher efficiency.

2. A power usage insurance fee at a reduced rate of 1.25% for hotel operators, who have good payment records.

3. Double tax deduction on the company’s expenses on seminars, workshops, and domestic trips.

4. An exemption of the hotel operation fee of 80 THB per room until 31 December 2010.

5. An extension of the application period for financial assistance for tourism business operators troubled by economic or domestic problems until 31 December 2010.

6. An extension of the 5-billion-THB loan application period for small and medium tourism enterprises until the end of 2010 as only 2 billion THB has been given out.

Despite all the stimulus measures on hand, the FTTI and the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FETTA) still expect the number of tourists this year to slip from the target of 15.7 million by at least 1 million due to the negative impact from the political impasse.

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Tags:Visa, Traveling, Thailand, Visa Fee, Holiday, Tourism
Industry:Tourism, Travel
Location:Rawai Beach - Phuket - Thailand
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