Thailand Approves $720 Million Plan to Boost Domestic Tourism

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Thailand approved a plan worth 22.4 billion baht ($720 million) to boost domestic tourism as the nation’s borders remain closed to foreign tourists because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Under the plan, visitors will pay 60% of hotel accommodation bills and the government covers the rest, up to 3,000 baht per night and for no more than five nights, a statement released after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday showed.

Other benefits include discounts for air tickets and concessionary travel packages for 1.2 million health workers and volunteers. The program will run from July 1 to October 31 and will cover a maximum of 5 million room nights and 2 million air tickets.

Thailand is suffering because it relies on foreign tourism receipts and exports, both of which have been hurt by the virus pandemic. Gross domestic product may shrink as much as 6% this year, and millions of jobs are in danger. The nation received no foreign tourists or related spending in April.

Officials are rolling out a 1.9-trillion-baht stimulus package to cushion the economy. A lockdown imposed to tackle the virus has been mostly lifted after infections dwindled.

Thailand is considering creating travel bubbles with countries such as China and Australia, which could allow some tourists to trickle back. For now, the majority of incoming international flights are banned until the end of June.

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