Tourism Ministry denies rumors of a cash handout program for foreigners to boost tourism

BANGKOK — A senior tourism official on Friday denied news reports that the government is preparing to extend its cash giveaway program to include foreign visitors.

Speaking in an interview just a day after tourism minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan mulled handing out the cash to tourists arriving at Thailand’s airports to stimulate spending, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said it was just a “misunderstanding.”

“We’re not giving out cash coupons to foreign tourists,” Yuthasak said. “The ministry was only trying to paint a picture of his plans to reporters at a reception. It’s a misunderstanding and he didn’t mean that.”

According to multiple news reports, Pipat the tourism minister told reporters he will propose more than 10 measures to boost tourism, which is crippling from the surge of baht value in the past months, when the Cabinet’s economy team meets on Jan. 31.

One of the proposals, he said, would be similar to the government-sponsored “Chim, Shop, Chai” program, in which Thai citizens who sign up for the scheme receive 1,000 baht spending credit and a 20 percent cash rebate for their purchases. He said the program would be extended to cover foreign tourists visiting Thailand.

While Yuthasak, the Tourism Authority governor, said the government is not seriously planning on rolling out that proposal, he said other measures to boost tourists’ spendings are in the works.

Source: Khaosod English, see more here:

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