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Thai Tourism

Thai Tourism Fund in trouble

Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai  Mar 18, 2009

According to the breaking news of Bangkok Post, five-billion-baht fund for tourism operators is not enough for them to all survive the slump, said Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa.

The financial support programme was officially launched Tuesday and will run until April 30.

The Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FTTA) predicted that at least 450 tour operators would seek financial help worth at least 1.8 billion baht.

More than 1,000 restaurant operators are expected to submit loan applications for 500 million baht, with small hotels likely to seek up to two billion baht.

Soft loans to help tourism-related operators will charge an interest rate at 2% in the first two years, followed by the minimum lending rate (MLR) - 3%.

"The requests for loans during the 1.5-month period will exceed five billion baht for sure. If demand is excessive, we will go forward with the second fund,'' Mr Chumpol said.

The minister estimated that the tourism business would pick up near the end of this year if the private and government sectors worked hand-in-hand to promote the country in the same direction.

Apichart Sankary, the FTTA president, said the tourism industry in Thailand would be sluggish in the next two years, particularly for inbound business.

"I can say that this year is the poorest since I have been in business. This summer, tourist arrivals from Europe and the United States will drop more than 30%. Instead, most operators should pin their hopes on Asian tourists particularly from Japan and China,'' he said.

Thai Tourism Fund in trouble

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