The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the entire Thai tourism industry have rolled out a range of promotions, strategies, activities, and projects to help revive visitor arrivals which were affected by the recent political turmoil.
The Royal Thai Government has extended a range of measures to promote tourism, including a waiver of tourist visa fees until 31 March, 2011. At the same time, a committee of economic ministers has approved a new relief package for the tourism industry. The package includes the following measures:
- Thais who purchase local travel packages from tour operators or pay for the accommodation fee can deduct up to 15,000 Baht when filing their annual income tax for 2010 and the exemption of operation fee for hotel operators to the year 2011.
- Providing training courses for workers within the travel and tourism sector.
- The SME Bank’s 5 billion Baht loan programme for small- and- medium-sized tourism business operators will be maintained. The loan repayment period will be extended from five years to eight, and the interest rate set at the minimum lending rate minus three percentage points for two years. A two-year grace period will be granted for the principal payment. There is presently 2 billion Baht in loans available for SMEs. Additional funds might be disbursed if there is a strong demand for loans.
The Finance Ministry is also planning to ask the Cabinet for other relief measures; such as, tax deductions for corporate seminars.
The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has agreed to reduce many airport fees for nine months to assist airlines and related businesses.
The AOT will reduce landing fees by 15 per cent while the aircraft parking fee will be reduced by half. Rental fee inside airports as well as services and facilities fees will be cut by 10 per cent.
The committee of economic ministers has approved a budget of 360 million baht for the TAT for domestic tourism marketing and other domestic promotional activities.
All these measures are designed to ease the financial impact of the downturn on operators and companies, and prevent them from having to layoff staff.
In addition, nearly all the hotels, both individual properties and chains, have launched special packages and promotions offering a range of discounts and value-added incentives.
As part of its marketing strategy to revive visitor arrivals over the rest of the year, TAT is prioritising plans to restore visitor confidence from the short-haul markets such as ASEAN, South Asia, and East Asia countries. Visitors from these markets are seen to be ready to return to Thailand as soon as they feel the situation has returned to normal. Recently, TAT led a Thai team on an Amazing Thailand Road Show in Beijing, China on 24 June, 2010.
TAT’s executives and directors from overseas and domestic offices are working on the TAT Marketing Action Plan 2011 (MAP) at their annual meeting now underway in Chonburi until 2 July 2010.
They are discussing ways to adapt and adjust the plans in accordance with changes in the underlying conditions and the frequent occurrence of global and local crises. They are discussing ways to boost Thailand’s brand image among tour operators, to organise more special events, introduce new tourism destinations, and encourage foreign investment in tourism, especially in new products.
After the TAT MAP meeting, a press conference will be held on 5 July 2010 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre to announce the new plans and strategies.
The situation is already returning to normal. According to official data, international passengers arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport totalled 540,788 in the period of 1-27 June, 2010, a decline of 6.8 per cent over the same period of 2009. This is a clear indication that the rate of decline has slowed significantly over the fall of 19 per cent in visitor arrivals in May 2010 over May 2009.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The entire tourism industry has come together and is moving ahead to overcome the downturn. We are hopeful that these measures will succeed and the industry will still be able to attain its target of 14.8 million arrivals for 2010.”
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
Web site: www.tatnews.org
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