Published on : Thursday, January 30, 2020
Thailand aims to introduce additional measures next month for improving consumption and tourism, said the country’s finance minister, as the Thai government tries to fight off a faltering economy facing a sharp blow from corona virus in China.
Tourism is a key growth driver and the only bright spot in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, but it has now been affected hard by China’s ban on all group tours.
China is Thailand’s biggest source of foreign tourists, with 11 million Chinese visitors last year accounting for 28% of the total. The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects Chinese visits to decline by 2 million this year.
“We have to admit that there must be an impact on the overall economy, as tourist numbers fall,” said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.
He said that government agencies are working on proposals for measures, which could include handouts or cash back to support spending on travel and consumer goods.
For stimulating business activity, the cabinet approved a package of tax incentives on Tuesday to encourage investment with weak exports and soft domestic demand.
The package is expected to attract investment worth more than 100 billion baht ($3.24 billion) and add to economic growth by 0.25 percentage point, said ministry official Lavaron Sangsnit.
The ministry is also expected to trim its 2020 growth outlook, currently at 3.3%.