The government has pledged to implement a fifth phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” co-payment subsidy scheme after Friday approving tourism stimulus packages to revitalise the embattled sector.
According to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the government wants to extend the scheme and is studying the possibility and an appropriate model for the scheme’s extension.
“Because of budgetary limitations, the extension may be given only to specific groups of recipients, not all people, as offered during the previous four phases,” he said after chairing a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on Friday.
According to the premier, the government allocated about 40-50 billion baht to support each phase of the co-payment subsidy scheme.
Given budgetary constraints, the administration may not be able to implement the scheme on the same scale as in previous phases, he said.
The government initiated the co-payment subsidy scheme in October 2020, offering payment of 50% of food, drink and general goods purchases for participants, with the total subsidy limited to 150 baht per person per day.
The scheme aims to boost the economy and shore up people’s spending that was affected by the Covid-19 outbreaks.
The fourth phase of the scheme ended on April 30.
Gen Prayut also insisted the government does not intend to collect income tax from small shops participating in the scheme, except for those with an annual income of at least 1.8 million baht.
In a related development, CESA approved the fourth phase of the “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy scheme, which also ended on April 30, extending it to September and adding 1 million room nights to the campaign to help the tourism sector.
The We Travel Together scheme was launched in July 2020 to stimulate local tourism, which was walloped by the first wave of the pandemic.
Participants in the scheme paid 60% of normal hotel room rates, with the government responsible for the balance.
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the We Travel Together campaign will be funded by 4 billion baht remaining from the budget of previous phases.
CESA also approved an extension of the “Tour Teaw Thai” tour package subsidy, running until September.
The tour package subsidy scheme ended in late April.
Mr Yuthasak said domestic tourism is improving thanks to the government’s continued easing of travel restrictions to support the sector.
He projected domestic travellers would make 160 million trips this year generating 66 billion baht.
The number of foreign arrivals should total 7-10 million this year, generating between 630 billion baht and 1.2 trillion baht, said Mr Yuthasak.