By The Nation
“The government wants to provide the soft loans to airlines and supply chains on condition that airlines do not raise fares too high,” Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, said on Monday.
Controlling fares would boost tourism and contribute to economic recovery, he assured.
Airlines, hotels and tour agents have been hit hard by the Covid-19 travel ban, which has seen arrivals drop to zero since the end of March, after totalling 40 million last year. The government has launched cheap tourism packages and opened Thailand to small groups of foreign holidaymakers via the special tourist visa (STV) scheme.
In August, Thai airlines asked for soft loans worth Bt24 billion. They also requested an extension to the jet fuel-tax waiver and for airports to cut or waive fees for parking, landing, and passenger departure.
Economists estimate the loss of tourism revenue will amount to a 10 to 20 per cent drop in Thai GDP this year.
While some sectors are recovering as the government eases lockdown restrictions, surging Covid rates in many countries have sparked concern over opening Thailand to foreign tourists.