BUSINESS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Thai trade disappointed over miniscule relief package

Smaller stimulus budget forces TAT to revise marketing plans

Thai trade disappointed over miniscule relief package

Sirima Eamtako,
TTG Asia

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 establishments.

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

Sirima Eamtako,
TTG Asia

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.)