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Visits by tourism organizations to the Thai PM call for further support

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Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn acknowledged that overall revenue “might be lower than the ministry’s target of 1.5 trillion baht,” claiming that the average spending was “significantly affected by inflation and surging airfares” despite the number of travelers and tourists returning to Thailand. He gave the idea to waive visa fees and extend the duration of tourist visas and visas-on-arrival from 30 to 45 days as an illustration. In order to provide the business with more options, the THA recommended cutting the minimum wage for hiring foreign specialists from 35,000 baht per month to 20,000 baht per month. Despite the fact that the Tourism Authority of Thailand, travel organizations and even the Ministry of Tourism and Sport provided numerous comments and proposals, there needed to be much more coordination and leadership from the government to ensure that the proposals could be implemented. Even if the fees were waived, he wasn’t sure if tour operators and travel agencies, who frequently handled all of the visa arrangements, would still pass along the savings.

Twelve tourism organizations from all throughout Thailand have joined forces to encourage the government to streamline its existing tourism stimulus programs, arguing that it is important to do so. On Monday, they expressed to the Thai Prime Minister their continued “skepticism” about the intricate web of initiatives that are supposed to encourage both local and foreign travel. The THA wants to relax employment laws so that migrant worker can fill open positions. The Association of Domestic Travel’s Chaiyapruk Thongkam, one of the delegates, stated that the main issue was that the majority of the existing ideas “need permissions from other government authorities,” and frequently many agencies must work together to make the rules work. Marisa also mentioned that the hotel business was experiencing a labor crisis because a large portion of the previous workforce had either left the company or been laid off due to the epidemic. He claimed that because the Foreign Ministry’s primary source of funding came from visa fees, they were unlikely to endorse the idea.

The PM made no pledges, according to Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), who also noted that each topic was forwarded to the relevant organizations for “feasibility studies.” In response to many of the suggestions, the prime minister stated that the government had a limited budget and had already spent billions of baht on various stimulus projects that had been effective in boosting domestic tourism. He pointed out that the proposal for a tourist tax, which ultimately led to the creation of a foreigner arrival tax, had not been well-considered and had already been delayed six months due to unforeseen issues with the collection of the 300 baht fee and resistance from international airlines who felt it was not their responsibility to be the tax collectors.

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