Tax rebates to boost travel

Posted on April 1, 2016

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Thai Hotels Association says the Thai Cabinet decision to reinstate tax rebates will help to boost the country’s tourism industry.

The Cabinet, on Tuesday, approved economic stimulus measures that kick in for the Songkran Festival, 9 to 17 April, that are designed to spur travel spending through tax rebates over the entire year.

Travellers can deduct up to THB15,000 when they file their tax returns for 2016 based on official invoice and billing for travel related services.

The Cabinet also agreed to reinstate hotel accommodation as a tax deductible item until the end of this year after the ruling expired 31 December last year. The maximum deduction is also THB15,000 per person.

THA president, Surapong Techaruvichit, told members at an association meeting, on Wednesday, that the new measures allow travellers to deduct both travel and hotels costs as two separate bill items from their annual tax returns.

“Those who spend on hotels and travel during the Songkran Festival will be eligible for two types of tax deduction, including the cost of travel during the festival itself and also for accommodation. Therefore, the maximum tax deduction will be THB30,000 per person for the entire year.”

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul estimates travel to Thailand during the Songkran holiday could reach 495,000 visits, up 26% from 391,918 last year. It should generate THB8,180 million in revenue, up 34% from THB6,122 million last year.

The average spend should reach THB16,525 per trip and the length of stay 3.12 days, she said.

There are also indicators that during the festival 94 charter, or scheduled charter flights, will wing in travellers from China, South Korea and Russia, she said, adding that 69 special flights will land in Bangkok, 21 in Phuket and four in Krabi with an overall capacity of 21,828 airline seats.

In the domestic market, the minister estimates around 2 million Thais will travel during the festival up 2%, and will generate and estimated THB7,000 million up 3.5%.

The downside is that hundreds of Thai travellers will die in accidents during the notorious seven deadly days of Songkhran and thousands will sustain injuries requiring hospital treatment. It costs the country billions in hospital costs and insurance payouts.

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