Bleak odds for travel tax break
A much-anticipated travel tax break is unlikely this year, as the government needs to allocate a huge budget to help rebuild recently flooded areas.
Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn said yesterday that the tax break for domestic travel expenses will possibly be put off to next year.
“Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has just talked with the Finance Ministry, and the prospects look thin,” Gen Tanasak said. “If the travel tax break can’t be implemented this year, it should be introduced next year.”
On Aug 18, Somchai Sujjapongse, the finance permanent secretary, said the Finance Ministry had agreed in principle on a tax break for domestic travel expenses but had asked the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to adjust the details to let smaller communities benefit.
If the tax deduction were provided on a blanket basis, only main tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai and Phuket provinces would benefit, Mr Somchai said, adding that the Finance Ministry wanted local people and business operators in communities to receive a share of tourism income.
According to the TAT’s initial proposal, tourists who spent during the final quarter of this year would be allowed to claim a personal income tax deduction of 10,000-50,000 baht, depending on the area visited.
The Finance Ministry allowed individual taxpayers to claim up to 15,000 baht in expenses paid for domestic accommodation and tourist agencies during October to December last year and another 15,000 for travelling expenses incurred throughout the remaining months of 2016 from their income tax.
In a related development, the TAT yesterday officially launched a new national tourism campaign called Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 to reinforce the tourism industry in the coming year, with a focus on the uniqueness and cultural values of Thailand.
The campaign aims to bring in more quality tourists and maintain the country’s traditional tourism markets. It is also intended to create higher economic value and distribute tourism income to regional areas of the country.
Apart from the domestic market, the new tourism campaign also targets international markets such as China, India, Asean, East Asia and Europe. Activities to mark Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 will begin in November and continue until the end of next year.
The TAT recently held the annual TAT Action Plan for 2018 meeting, covering both international and domestic tourism. The TAT’s marketing plan for 2018 is designed to serve the purpose of generating revenue and increasing visitor arrivals.
It will also follow the development agenda of Thailand 4.0, based on the sufficiency economy philosophy, as well as inclusive tourism that maintains a balance between the economy, society and the environment. All these strategies are in line with the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan and the Second National Tourism Development Plan.
Major activities include sport, gastronomy, marine, medical, and wedding and honeymoon tourism. Emphasis will also be placed on Asean Connect. As a founding member of Asean, Thailand has long adopted a policy to promote tourism in the region, with a special focus on encouraging the region as a single destination for world travellers.
Phuriwat Limtavonrus, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said the association’s 200 members are scheduled to offer as much as 50% discounts for tour packages to tourists who wear traditional Thai costume while travelling or on vacation.
Operators will begin selling special offers to tourists in November this year if they want to visit attractions in three provinces: Sing Buri, Lop Buri and Kanchanaburi.
Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotel operators will offer special room rates, food, drinks and spa services to tourists during April and June and during July to October next year.
Performers open Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018. Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn has cast doubt on a tax break for travel.