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Government in talks to turn Thailand into “duty-free paradise”

PHOTO: Flickr/dartudor

The Thai government is considering a raft of measures aimed at boosting tourism, including transforming the kingdom into a duty-free mecca for foreign travellers. The Bangkok Post reports that the duty-free idea is one of 5 measures being touted by PM Srettha Thavisin’s administration.

The measures proposed by the Ministry of Finance aim to cement Thailand’s status as a destination of choice for tourism and shopping, according to government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

Proposal number 1 aims to boost domestic spending by offering tax and other financial benefits, with locally made products such as perfume, clothes, and other fashion items, being promoted.

The second measure involves the restructure of excise tax to make certain products cheaper in Thailand than in other countries.

Measure number 3 would see the cancellation of planned duty-free shops on arrival, instead foreign tourists would be encouraged to do their shopping while travelling in the country. This would not affect duty-free shops in airport departure areas.

The fourth measure is the imminent relaxation of closing times for nightlife in popular tourist areas, which comes into effect on December 14. The government has also asked the Interior Ministry to look at ways to further increase tourism revenue under this measure.

Under the fifth measure, the Foreign Ministry has been asked to look into extending visa exemptions to travellers from other countries. The government has previously considered extending visa-free stays from 30 days to 90 for ‘some’ European visitors.

Chai says officials have been asked to look into the 5 measures currently on the table and to report back to Cabinet early next year. The PM has also asked the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to ramp up measures to contain the spread of fake news online as it is seen as damaging to tourism – not that some of the local news isn’t bad enough from time to time!

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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