Thai travelers should get more cash back for weekday trips: TAT

File photo of Ao Nang, Krabi. Photo: Joel Ng / Coconuts
File photo of Ao Nang, Krabi. Photo: Joel Ng / Coconuts

Traveling Thailand, especially on weekdays, may get a lot happier as the government considers paying people more for hotel stays.

A proposal has been floated to subsidize over 40% of accommodation costs allowed by the current travel stimulus program to encourage more travel on weekdays – and further from the capital, according to Yuthasak Supasorn of the national tourism authority.

Though about 4.1 million people have already registered for the government’s THB22.4 billion (US$750 million) travel program, Yuthasak said most traveled to destinations near Bangkok on weekends and long holidays so far. He said he wants tourism money to reach more parts of the country.

The president of Domestic Travel Association agreed the stimulus plan has brought relief, but said it’s concentrated around the capital. Puriwaj Limthawonrat said little hotels in small towns aren’t benefiting as much as those in tourist destinations, with the funds reaching just about 20% of the total Thai tourism industry.

More spending money is also on the way. Government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said Tuesday that the cabinet approved an increase to e-vouchers for spending on food and attraction entrance fees from THB600 to THB900 for those booking weekday stays.

She said the change won’t increase the program’s already steep cost to taxpayers as they would divert from funds reserved for hotel bookings, as stays have averaged around THB3,000 per night.

Thai nationals 20 and up can register by downloading Krung Thai’s PaoTang app (Android/iOS). Non-account holders may require time to be approved. A database of participating venues and hotels launched last week. The program covers one trip per person outside their home province now through October and also covers THB1,000 per airline ticket, each way.

Not Thai? Travel with a friend – the program supports the purchase of two airline tickets per applicant.

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