The deputy prime minister of Thailand has recently announced that the nation will soon introduce more stimulus measures to boost tourism, jobs, and consumption; all of which have taken a huge hit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional measures will include generous subsidies to encourage more hiring and domestic travel.
Thailand has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus. Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy suffered its biggest contraction since the 1998 Asian financial crisis in the second quarter of 2020 as the pandemic caused a hard stop in the vital tourism and domestic activity.
The government is currently planning more incentives to invigourate local tourism and add more jobs, since borders have been closed to foreign visitors since April. The tourism and employment perks are expected to be put to cabinet for approval next week, he said after a meeting of a special task force tasked with reviving the economy.
“The job measures should create more than a million jobs, including 400,000 for new graduates,” said the deputy prime minister and energy minister, Supattanapong Punmeechaow.
The government plans to “co-pay” for new employment with the private sector, Supattanapong said, without elaborating.
On tourism, it plans to increase benefits included in an earlier package to spur domestic travel, to recoup some losses from the absence of foreign tourists, who numbered a record 39.8 million last year, with spending accounting for 11.4 percent of GDP. The government hopes to increase its subsidies for hotels, flights and bus tickets, said Danucha Pichayanan, a spokesman for the task force.
The measures will be financed by the government’s 1 trillion baht borrowing, part of a bigger 1.9 trillion baht coronavirus response package.
The stimulus introduced to shore up the economy would be in line with the COVID-19 situation, Supattapong said, adding: “It’s not to devote all resources in a short period”.
A government representative has recently announced that Thailand will allow foreign tourists to visit for longer stays from October; as the government tries to revive a key economic sector that has been devasted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tourists will have to stay for at least 30 days, with the first 14 days in quarantine in a limited vicinity of their hotel, before they can visit other areas, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.
The announcement comes after authorities suspended plans to create ‘travel bubbles’ with partner countries as the number of coronavirus cases in Asia rose.