Thai cabinet approves more measures to spur domestic tourism

Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved more stimulus measures to support domestic tourism to recoup some of the losses from the absence of global travel after the coronavirus pandemic shut borders, a government official said.

Increases subsidies for hotels, flights

Value-added tax kept at 7% for another year

Adds detail, valued-added tax

BANGKOK, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved more stimulus measures to support domestic tourism to recoup some of the losses from the absence of global travel after the coronavirus pandemic shut borders, a government official said.

The government will increase benefits contained in an earlier package including subsidies for hotels and flights, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek told a briefing.

A 40% discount will cover 10 hotel nights for each traveller, up from 5 nights earlier, while a subsidy on flights will double to 2,000 baht ($63.53), she said.

The tourism-reliant country has had no foreign tourists since April due to a travel ban.

Thailand expects to receive 8 million foreign tourists this year, down 80% from last year's record 39.8 million visitors whose spending accounted for 11.4% of GDP.

The cabinet also approved keeping valued-added tax at 7% for another year to September next year to help reduce living costs and lift business confidence, Finance Minister Predee Daochai said in a statement. The VAT will be reviewed yearly.

"That will help economic recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak situation eases," he said.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy shrank at its deepest annual pace in the second quarter since the 1998 Asian crisis due to the outbreak.

($1 = 31.48 baht)

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon Editing by Ed Davies)

((orathai.sriring@tr.com; +662 0802309;))

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