Hotels want domestic stimulus schemes extended

7 May 2021

After projects were interrupted by the third outbreak, the hotel is urging the government to extend domestic stimulus programs to cover the high season in the final quarter.

In light of the recent outbreak, the cabinet announced on Wednesday that two tourism stimulus packages, "We Travel Together" (a subsidy on hotels and airfares) and "Tour Teaw Thai" (a co-payment for domestic tour packages), must be postponed indefinitely.

The Thai Hotels Association (THA) president, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, said the projects were planned for the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

However, due to the larger-scale impact of the new outbreak, which may take at least two months or until June to curb, the validity period of those stimulus campaigns to the end of 2021 or beyond.

"Thailand needs longer time to contain the virus's spread because this variant's infection rate is faster than the previous two rounds, not to mention the public's increased fear," she said.

"This time will be different and more challenging for the tourism sector as people voluntarily stay at home despite the government's no rigid lockdown orders."

Even though some hotels have already enrolled in the asset warehousing program, which facilitates them to easily access soft loans and debt restructuring, Mrs. Marisa said that this measure cannot help operators who have to carry a tremendous cost burden.

"During the first outbreak, the government's official order to close hotels in risk areas prompted the Social Security Fund (SSF) to compensate employees for 62 percent of the salary for three months last year," she said

"In the current situation, the only solution for employees to get financial aid from the SSF is to be unemployed first, But, hotels do not want to lay off staff because skilled workers in the hospitality sector will be difficult to find when we want them back." Mrs.. Marisa said.