BANGKOK - The Thai Government has moved swiftly to approve the first stage of an economic stimulus package targeting small and medium-sized enterprises reeling under the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Travel and tourism companies are a primary focus of attention for the relief measures.
Thai finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said that tourism, which accounts for 12% of the GDP, has been one of the worst affected sectors due to a 44% decline in visitors in February. Chinese visitors alone were down 85%.
The minister said the downturn has had a significant ripple effect across the Thai economy affecting all forms of transport, trade and other services. Many hotels have temporarily suspended operations. He said he lack of liquidity also threatens the future of other businesses as well as employment levels.
With this in mind, Thailand has opted to launch what the Cabinet calls a “Timely, Targetted and Temporary as Necessary” package that includes a number of fiscal measures aimed at taking pressure off the repayment of business loans, the introduction of new low-interest loans as well as business tax relief measures.
Additionally, government agencies will reduce rental fees for state property and the Bank of Thailand is easing rules the rules for granting commercial bank loans.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said TAT had been in constant contact with the private sector, especially the industry associations, ever since the downturn began in late January.
“We have communicated their concerns and requests to the Ministry of Finance and all other branches of the Royal Thai Government,” the governor said.