Thai trade disappointed over miniscule relief package
Thai Hotels Association president, Prakit Chinamourphong,
said hotels, despite being hardest hit by recent events, only received a
property tax waiver of 80 baht (US$2.50) a room until December 2011 in the
tourism relief package approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday. “Hotels are
likely to run low occupancies for at least three to six months. It’s
impossible to stay afloat with such little help.”
He added that the measure that shaved up to 15,000 baht
off the personal income taxes of Thais buying local travel packages from
tour operators should have been extended to all registered tourism
Large hotels had hoped for a loan package, while small
and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wanted five billion baht more. The
Cabinet only approved to maintain the five-billion baht scheme for SMEs,
with the repayment period extended from five to eight years.
Tourism Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa said he would re-propose
the loan scheme for large hotels to the government but needed more details
on losses and requirements.
Dusit International CEO, Chanin Donavanik, estimated a
loss of 100 to 200 billion baht for the Thai tourism industry this year. The
tourism relief package was just a drop in the ocean of losses, he said.
Smaller stimulus budget forces TAT to revise marketing plans
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is revisiting its
existing tourism marketing budget after the Cabinet approved only 22.5
percent of the total requested stimulus.
The TAT sought an ad hoc budget of 1.6 billion baht for
an image campaign in the aftermath of the recent political crisis, but only
received 360 million baht for domestic tourism marketing.
TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni said the extra amount
for domestic tourism would be spent on four projects - creating tour
packages in consortium with domestic tour operators, staging Thai Tourism
Festivals in five regions, events marketing and online tools.
Domestic tourism will be marketed under a Thai campaign,
translated as “Give Thailand a warm hug”.
Suraphon said for inbound tourism, marketing departments
for long haul and short haul markets would have to adjust their strategies
based on the existing budget. A mega familiarization trip for about 500 to
600 overseas agents and media will be held in early July while an image
campaign is in the works.
He said TAT planned to announce its short-, medium- and
long-term strategies for Thailand tourism recovery on June 17. (At press
time, the strategies had yet to be announced.)