Thailand geared to increase foreign tourist spending

The Finance and Tourism ministries have agreed in principle to five proposals of three retail associations, which include the opening of duty-free pick-up counters at all international airports.

The other proposals are; instant VAT refund, exclusion of VAT from some items, reduction of import tariffs of some consumer product items, and the scheme to promote “Thailand Brands Sale”.

The proposals are aimed at boosting foreign tourists’ spending in Thailand.

Rawittha Pongnuchit, a tax-law expert and former deputy director-general of the Revenue Department as chairman of the duty-free association, said that all the proposals would boost the economy.

“We are pleased that the government responded (to our proposals) and is ready to materialise the proposals within the specified timeframe,” he said.

He added that pick-up counters at all international airports would facilitate foreign tourists’ shopping. This would lead to more jobs and higher income at airports.

It is agreed that all the airports would have the counters within 60 days.

The decision followed a meeting yesterday between Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong, Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and representatives of the Thai Shopping Centre Association, Thai Retailers Association, and duty-free shop association.

A working committee will be set up to study on the exclusion of VAT from some items. The Revenue Department is tasked to explore overseas experiences involving instant VAT refund.


Photo by David McKelvey

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