India keeps talking about domestic tourism, Thailand does something about it
Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved three projects with a combined budget of more than 22 billion baht (USD 707 million) to help the country’s reeling tourism industry recover from the coronavirus crisis.
The packages are meant to promote domestic travel from July to October. Tourism normally accounts for more than 10% of Thailand’s GDP.
International flight arrivals were stopped in early April, drying up the market for foreign tourists.
The biggest package, with an estimated cost of 18 billion baht (USD 579 million), will give travellers a 40% discount to a maximum value of 3,000 baht (USD 96) per night for up to five nights’ accommodation, news agency AP has reported.
They will also be given credits of 600 baht (USD 19) per day, paid into the government’s existing e-wallet system, for spending on extras such as food and souvenirs.
A second package with an estimated cost of 2 billion baht (USD 64 million) will give up to 2 million Thais 1,000-baht (USD 32) subsidies for travel by air, regional buses, and car rentals, AP said in its report.
A 2.4 billion baht (USD 77 million) third package does double duty by serving as a reward to about 1.2 million medical workers and other frontline fighters against COVID-19.
They will be eligible for credits of 2,000 baht (USD 64) apiece for travel booked through local tour agencies Plans for the gradual return of foreign travellers are under discussion.
The introduction of a ”travel bubble” would allow entry to a limited number of visitors vetted both by Thailand and their home countries. They would initially come from countries judged to have successfully tamed the coronavirus threat, such as China and New Zealand, and could possibly comprise business travellers and medical tourists.
India, on the other hand, has been talking about sprucing up its domestic tourism potential, but has done little on the ground to support it.