New domestic tourism tax breaks okayed

The cabinet gave the nod on November 29 to the reinstatement of tourism stimulus measures including a 15,000-baht tax break on domestic tour packages and hotel accommodation for individual taxpayers. The measures are intended to entice people to spend the long public holiday at home rather than travelling abroad. They also aim to spark a year-end spending spree as the economy sags and offset the impact of the government’s crackdown on “zero-dollar tour operators and the subsequent drop in Chinese tourists. Authorities launched a campaign to tackle zero-dollar tour scams in late September because of complaints that the tours were tarnishing Thailand’s reputation. The tour scams involve offering cheap package tours to customers who are then pressured into buying goods and services at inflated prices so operators can recoup their losses. But the clampdown has resulted in a slowdown in tourist arrivals and economic losses, with some critics arguing that such an approach was not the best option to address the problem.

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