The government’s economic task force approved changes to two tourism-promotion campaigns and initiated a new one to further stimulate domestic travel.
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The Center for Economic Situation Administration on Dec. 2 extended the “We Travel Together” program until April 30, increased the discount on airline tickets to 3,000 baht a person, and upped the maximum stay to 15 days, even at unlicensed hotels.
In addition, the CESA approved a new weekday-only travel subsidy for older Thais offering discounts of up to 5,000 baht, and technical changes to a tour-operator support project.
The extensions and expansions came after tourism-industry associations said more government assistance was needed to support the sector through the middle of next year when a coronavirus vaccine is expected to become widely available. The government has indicated it is unwilling to reopen to mass foreign tourism until then.
The We Travel Together campaign, which is months behind its goal of filling 5 million hotel rooms with Thai travelers, will be extended for a second time, now to April 30, and an additional 1 million subsidized rooms will be added.
The government said it expects to hit the 5 million target by year-end. Thais can get up to 40 percent discounts on the rooms, with the government repaying the discount to hoteliers.
The maximum number of nights in one stay also was increased from 10 to 15 and, for the first time, hotels and guest houses that don’t have proper licenses but are registered with the Value Added Tax program will be able to participate.
Additional technical changes to the program affect booking hours and payment terms.
For air travel, Thai tourists can now receive up to 3,000 baht back on interprovincial trips, up from 2,000 baht.
The new travel program for Thais age 55 or older is aimed at boosting weekday travel by retirees.
Tourists who book tours of at least two nights and three days costing 12,500 baht or more can get discounts up to 5,000 baht. Tour operators will be repaid by the government provided they register before January.
Tour operators will be limited to 3,000 travelers over the campaign’s three-month duration. The start date will be dependent on Cabinet approval of the scheme.
Tour operators already enrolled in the “Kum Lung Jai” (“Encouragement”) campaign also will get a chance to add more destinations while unregistered operators will now be able to join.