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Thai Government Eyes Cash Handout to Domestic Tourists

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As Thailand slowly reopens its tourism industry Thailand’s Finance Ministry is also readying a domestic tourism stimulus package. Eligible recipients of domestic tourism stimulus package will be entitled to a 3,000-baht cash handout.

The cash handout that will automatically be deducted from their bills when; they spend nights or pay for food or services at participating hotels; restaurants and related tourism operators; says an informed source at the Finance Ministry.

The scheme will require only hotels, restaurants and tourism-related operators to sign up with the designated state agency. Service users are automatically eligible without any registration requirement, the source said.

This method will prevent a repeat of problems that occurred when the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme. It will also address exploitation of some recipients that happened in the past scheme. Participating operators will now be responsible for claiming money from the government, the source said.

Finance Ministry to limit cash handout

For instance, a recipient is liable to pay only 6,000 baht for his or her accommodation expense of 9,000 baht. To be eligible for the 3,000 baht, recipients must spend at participating hotels, restaurants and tourism-related operators outside their home provinces.

The Finance Ministry is still deciding on the number of recipients it will allow to qualify for the package. However it wants as many as possible, the source said.

The ministry is also studying a cashback scheme for money spent that exceeds what the government provides. To further encourage more domestic tourism spending.

Cash refunds will be part of the package to encourage people to spend their own money, the source said. For instance, if local tourists spend more than 3,000 baht, the amount above 3,000 baht will be entitled to cashback of 10-20%. The source said a cash handout is the most efficient tool to blunt coronavirus impact on the economy right now.

Stimulus package to float economy

A 400-billion-baht budget allocation set for economic rehabilitation and a recovery plan under borrowing of 1 trillion baht will be used to fund the domestic tourism stimulus scheme. A cash giveaway should not breach the budget’s objectives, the Bangkok Post reports.

The money will be spent to revitalize tourism, hotels and restaurants adversely affected by covid-19. The stimulus package is meant to keep the economy afloat. Tourism receipts make up more than 10% of Thailand’s GDP.

Lavaron Sangsnit, director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the stimulus packages will likely be rolled out next month. Above all to maintain spending momentum after a monthly stipend of 5,000 baht paid to informal workers hit by the outbreak ends this month.

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