For Thailand, a ‘Go Local’ move to spread tourism benefits

Tourists at Chiang Khan Walking Street in Loei province, one of the selected provinces to benefit from TAT's new initiative

The Thai government has approved a series of tax deduction measures to promote seminars, leisure travel and MICE events in 55 second-tier tourist provinces nationwide all through 2018.

These will support the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s latest Go Local campaign, a landmark project to promote the kingdom’s secondary destinations, spread tourists between urban and rural areas, and even out traffic between peak and non-peak periods.

Tourists at Chiang Khan Walking Street in Loei, one of the selected provinces to benefit from TAT’s new initiative

Go Local targets to improve the ratio of visitors – both domestic and foreign – to main cities vs secondary cities from 64:36 to 60:40. The aim is also to bring 10 million tourist arrivals into secondary cities and communities, generating an estimated 10 billion baht (US$312 million) in tourism revenue in 2018.

As part of the campaign, TAT will cooperate with domestic tour operators and travel agents to offer incentives such as discounted meals when buying local tour packages covering secondary destinations. Travellers will also be exempt from personal income tax for the amount paid out to tour operators, hotel operators or homestay operators for domestic tours to the 55 provinces, but not in excess of 15,000 baht.

Moreover, TAT will target Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed companies with a corporate tax exemption on income equal to 100 per cent of expenses for seminars and accommodation rooms, transport and other expenses incurred for conducting staff training seminars in the 55 provinces.

TAT will also introduce the TAT Plus discount card, which can be used in participating retail and dining merchants in secondary destinations as well as domestic airlines.

Other efforts include cooperating the Thai Restaurants Association, chefs, credit card companies and provincial authorities to promote the consumption of local food and purchase of local raw materials; as well as partnering attractions such as museums and theme parks to organise activities that celebrate the local culture.

Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor, said: “When local communities grow, the country grows. With travel and tourism now widely recognised as a major contributor to grassroots economies, job creation and income distribution, we are now taking specific measures to ensure that the benefits are better distributed across the breadth and depth of the entire kingdom.”

A Go Local Directory will be launched to provide specific information on dining, travelling and accommodation for getting tax deductions.

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