Initiating conversations with the tripartite-team inclusive of representatives from both the employee and employer side as well as the government is deemed as a crucial step. The primary focus of these discussions would be to explore crucial factors like current inflation rates, various industry wages, the minimum wage per province, and the cumulative national inflation rate. The outcome is anticipated to be declared by the time November concludes.
A priority for the governing body is to enhance the minimum per day wage, which they plan on instating from the start of the new year. They aim to stimulate the sluggish Thai economy through this initiative, focusing on challenges like surging living costs and prevailing inflation that serve as conundrums for laborers and employers alike.
Interestingly, the proposed wage increase is not limited to Thai employees alone, but is also extending its purview to immigrant labor. The primary objective is to enhance skillsets among Thai employees, thereby assuring them a minimum daily wage of not less than 400 Baht, as conveyed by Phiphat during a recent meeting of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA). Retrospecting the damage caused by Covid-19 leading to a 40% drop in tourism workforce, though some relief has been seen with employees returning, a considerable 25% void still remains compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
As a revival strategy for the tourism industry, the government has temporarily waived off visa-requirements for visitors from China and Kazakhstan, permitting up to 30 days of stay, effective September 25th of this year until February 29, 2024. However, the idea of elevating the number of foreign employees, especially from countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, has been met with backlash. The governing body considers it necessary to center its efforts on skill-training the native Thai tourism labor force.
A blueprint is in process for inter-ministerial collaboration encompassing the domains of Tourism and Sports, Education, Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, and Labour. The ultimate aim is to empower the workforce with skills to match employer-demand across industries.
Global trends show an increasing demand in the tourism sector with several countries grappling with labor shortages in the tourism industry. A general trend among Thai labor has been observed with a preference for tourism jobs overseas, especially in Middle Eastern countries including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. This is predominantly due to lucrative higher salary offerings in these regions as opposed to local wages in Thailand, says Phiphat. Therefore, the Labour Ministry is expediting its efforts to train local tourism workers to balance the labor-demands.