The Ministry of Finance is considering soft loans for operators
Tourism needs to be prepared for opening
An Israeli tourist enjoys the pool on Friday, the day after Phuket reopens to foreign tourists. The country plans to open more destinations for visitors. (Photo by Reuters)
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is planning to request concessional loans of 10 billion baht from the Ministry of Finance to help operators prepare their businesses for the opening deadline in mid-October.
Piphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said that if Phuket’s sandbox runs smoothly, his ministry will take the opportunity to negotiate with the Ministry of Finance the concessional loans under the government decree on a 500 billion baht loan to ease the economic impact of the pandemic.
If concessional loans for tourism are approved, he said, operators could use a cross-guarantee measure that allows firms to act as loan guarantors for each other.
“While waiting for the return of foreign tourists, local tourists can help operators stay afloat,” said Mr Phiphat.
“It is impossible to wait for the decline in daily infection rates. Low-risk provinces should focus on increasing domestic tourist travel, ”he said.
“In addition to 10 dark red zones with strict Covid-19 controls, in which people are urged to restrict their movement, there are opportunities to resume leisure activities in other provinces.”
However, the decision on whether internal travel between low-contamination areas is allowed without travel restrictions is largely up to the provincial governors, Mr Phiphat said.
Local tourists made 23.6 million trips between January and May, down 7.82% from last year, despite a low base in 2020, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Domestic travel generated 125 billion baht, down 35.1%.
Tourism incentives, including a new phase of the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) program, a subsidy for hotels, and the Tour Teaw Thai, which provides 40% compensation for domestic travel packages up to 5,000 baht. open for registration at the end of this month.
However, travel dates are subject to further virus outbreak updates.
According to him, the two measures will be extended until December. These measures should make a big contribution to the local economy, especially with the 5 billion baht budget for the new Tour Teaw Thai scheme, Mr Piphat said.
If the two schemes record low demand in the first two months, he said, the ministry will work with tourism operators and the National Council for Economic and Social Development to revise them and allocate the remaining budget for revised incentive schemes to increase domestic travel.