Thailand’s recent crackdown on so-called zero-dollar tours is benefiting the Kingdom’s neighbours, according to Jing Daily.
For Thai authorities, there were many reasons to put curbs on Chinese zero-dollar tours. The Thai government has estimated that it lost approximately 70 billion baht (US$2 billion) in tax revenue annually due to the tax-avoiding nature of zero-dollar tours, with profits funneled directly back to China. Another major concern has been the overcrowding of Thailand’s tourism infrastructure and the fear that budget travelers cannibalize on more profitable market segments.
For Thailand’s neighbors, the vacuum left by the zero-dollar crackdown has provided plenty of opportunities to tap the suddenly untapped demand for cheap overseas travel. As a result, demand for trips to surrounding countries with less regulated tourism industries has picked up, with multiple new air connections between China and Thailand’s neighbors introduced in the last few months.
“We are not reverting to the old scenario of growth which was not realistic. Our future growth will be sustainable,” Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told the Bangkok Post.
Tourism authorities are no longer obsessed with the number of arrivals from China but focusing on the revenue growth they can contribute to the country, she said.