Cabinet considers more public holidays in November to boost economy while tourism schemes fall flat

Wissanu Krea-ngam, the deputy prime minister, said on Tuesday that the new public holidays in November proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry to boost the economy are under consideration.

The extra holidays will be added to a weekend in November.

Whether it will be at the end of Buddhist Lent or the Loy Krathong festival, the dates are not yet confirmed, said Wissanu.

He also told reporters that the government is worried about the financial status of the citizens as they might not have enough surplus to spend during the holidays. 

If the holidays are too soon, people will not be ready, and if it’s too close to the end of the month, people will run out of money, he added.

Dry responses

The tourism sector, which accounts for 18 per cent of the GDP, has been facing hardship from travel restrictions since the beginning of 2020. 

According to the available data, Thailand had 10.1 million tourists in July which is a 57.04 per cent decrease from 23.5 million in July 2019. 

Only 37.4 million baht of income was generated in July, declining by 81.52 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2019. 

With the sharp contraction in travellers, tourism-related companies such as Minor International (MINT), Central Plaza hotel (CENTEL) and Airports of Thailand (AOT) have reported a drop in their earnings throughout the year.

Analysts said that the tourism sector heavily relies on the progress of the COVID-19 vaccines in order to recover from the damage. 

Local media also reported that the tourism stimulus package has failed to grasp the attention of Thais as 17 per cent of the 5 million registered accounts were used over a two-month period. 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the government has to promote more domestic travel campaigns to reach more people as foreign flights are still on hold.  

The TAT said that Thailand should start reopening borders to allow foreigners to enter the country in 2020 as many countries have already introduced plans for foreign travellers.

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