Council says tourism on track despite headwinds
Thailand’s tourism growth is on track, with the number of international arrivals set to reach 9 million in the second quarter of 2019 despite several negative factors, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand.
President Chairat Trirattanajarasporn said the amount will bring the total number of foreign visitors in the first half to about 19 million.
The volume is close to the forecast of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which expects 19.9 million visitors in the first six months this year to contribute 1 trillion baht in tourism income, up 2% and 3% respectively from the same period last year.
Mr Chairat said tourism in the first quarter of the year grew slowly at 2.8%.
The tensions between the US and its trade partners, namely China and Mexico, have put a damper on some people’s travel plans.
Mr Chairat said the Tourism Sentiment Index conducted by the council to measure the tourism industry from April to June also reflected weaker sentiment.
But the government’s extension of the 2,000-baht visa-on-arrival fee waiver for 21 countries is helping to attract foreign visitors.
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“The scheme will end in October, while the existing incentive to stimulate domestic travel will finish this month, and the new government should offer some new incentives,” Mr Chairat said at a press briefing yesterday.
The council said the tax perks for individuals to use tourism spending during May and June as a claim for a tax deduction at the rate of 15,000 baht for spending in big provinces and 20,000 baht in smaller ones have contributed greatly to the industry.
In order to maintain growth, the new government should work with the council to design new tax incentives and marketing plans to boost the business, the council said.
In addition, the state should focus on the development of infrastructure in all parts of the country to foster domestic travel, especially to liberalise ride-hailing services such as Grab in certain destinations where the transport system is poor.
The move will result in growing tourism in the third quarter of this year to coincide with the future sentiment index that expects to record some 9.7 million international arrivals in the third quarter, bringing the total number of foreign tourists this year in Thailand to 40 million, contributing 2.13 trillion baht in revenue as planned.