Thailand agrees to waive fees for hotels for 2 more years, official says


BANGKOK: Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday agreed to extend a waiver on operating fees for hoteliers for two more years from July to support the recovery of the tourism sector, a government official said.

The exemption of the annual fee of 40 baht ($1.1) per room will cost the government 54 million baht ($1.47 million)in lost revenue, deputy spokesperson Karom Phonphonklang told a news conference.

Waiving the fee will help reduce expenses for hotel operators who have been impacted by COVID-19 and may remain unable to recover, he said.

Tourism is a key driver of the Thai economy, which has lagged regional peers, as it faces high household debt and borrowing costs as well as weak exports.

The government, which is targeting 3% economic growth this year after last year's 1.9% expansion, has said tourism will continue to underpin economic growth.

Thailand received 16.84 million foreign tourist arrivals since the start of 2024 to June 23 this year, up 36% year on the year, with spending of 795 billion baht ($21.7 billion), tourism ministry data showed.

China was the biggest source market with 3.31 million tourists during the period.

The government is aiming for 36.7 million foreign visitors this year, compared with a record of nearly 40 million in pre-pandemic 2019. - Reuters

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