Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Association of Domestic Travel upbeat on domestic tour goal

Suvarnabhumi airport early this month.
(Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The government’s domestic tourism goal of 200 million trips this year is achievable, though it depends on state support via more stimulus plans, says the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT).

Operators would like the government to flatten the infection rate curve from the hundreds daily to double digits or even a single digit by February, in order to revive travel confidence, said ADT president Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn.

The goal is to revive interprovincial trips by March, starting with low-risk areas, he said.

Around 70% of ADT’s 750 members emerged from the lockdown in the third quarter last year. But the resurgence of the virus affected them again, as less than 20% are operating now.

Tour operators are pinning their hopes on future stimulus schemes from the government — a senior tour programme for 1 million elderly received initial approval and should be implemented once the pandemic subsides, said Mr Thanapol.

The association also proposed a new idea for co-payment for domestic tour programmes, with the government subsidising 50% of tour packages, capped at 3,000 baht for 2 million packages.

Tour packages in the scheme could fall on either weekdays and weekends, but tourists must stay at least one night.

He said the scheme should be launched by April and will be valid for four months. ADT submitted the project outline to the Tourism and Sports Ministry this week, noting the industry is in dire need of assistance after the crisis.

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