Travel around the world continues to be affected by the novel coronavirus, especially in the Greater Mekong Subregion where most of the countries are relying on the tourism industry.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office would like to take this opportunity to gather the government’s policies in which to provide aid and assistance to businesses in the respective countries.
We are continually updating the policy taken by the different government to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 as well as to support the recovery process for the tourism sector.
Please see specific information about government policies to provide aid and assistance to businesses in the respective countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion as related to COVID-19 crisis below: Cambodia. PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.
To learn about travel restrictions due to the current pandemic in the respective countries, please click HERE.
GMS COUNTRY UPDATES
On September 30:
Cambodia’s government issued its sixth round of incentives aimed at supporting private sector workers and the economy.
The latest incentives are an extension of existing ones, in particular those providing financial support for the country’s garment, textile, and footwear industries. The government has also extended the payment of Minimum Tax for the aviation industry in addition to the payment of aviation fees by airlines. Read more
On August 1:
The Cambodian government extended tax breaks for aviation companies and tourism-related businesses for another two months to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
On July 18:
The Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) has issued two main measures to solve the current issues faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The first measure focuses on compliance for SMEs regarding checking the possibility to provide support including business consultants, lawyers, legal consultants, business registration, accounting, marketing and technical aspects.
The second measure will support the eco-system of SMEs such as continuing to reform the regulation framework and its implementation, promoting supported business services, supporting funding, promoting the market, driving and bolstering human resources and research and development and promoting the concept of entrepreneurship skills. Read more
On July 9:
The Cambodian government has allocated 1.16 billion U.S. dollars to address the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economy and Finance Ministry Secretary of State Vongsey Vissoth said here on Wednesday.
“The amount of 564 million dollars has been allocated for health and social assistance and 600 million dollars for economic support through lending to small and medium enterprises,” he said during a press conference.
Since the virus outbreak, the government has released 364 million dollars for economic and social supports, he said. Read more
On June 24:
The Royal Government of Cambodia will launch a cash relief programme for the poor and vulnerable families during this COVID-19 crisis on Wednesday, June 24.
The cash fund aimed to assist those locals whose job has been suspended due to COVID-19 crisis especially the poor in remote areas who are facing food shortage.
On June 14:
UNWTO comes to Cambodia’s aid with COVID-19 response package while standing to lose $3 billion in tourism revenue. A technical assistance package of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to rehabilitate the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific region after Covid-19 crisis has been discussed.
The discussion was made through a recent video conference held with the participation of tourism ministers from UNWTO member countries, including Thong Khon, Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism.
Speaking for Cambodia, Mr Khon underlined the significance of the WTO’s technical assistance package including the planning to restore and develop the economy and tourism during the post Covid-19 period.
On June 8:
Cambodia’s microfinance institutions (MFIs) have approved loan restructures valued at almost $817 million for more than 180,000 customers among a total of nearly 200,000 customers who have requested assistance since May, according to the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA).
Kaing Tongngy, spokesperson for the CMA, said that currently only four priority sectors have been approved for loan restructuring. These include tourism, construction, transportation and the garment industry with the association now going to add agriculture as a fifth sector too.
On June 8:
The government executed four measures, extending for another two months a tax exemption from June to July for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tour operators.
It also provided an exemption for tourism licence fees for 2021 and said they were not required to pay into the National Social Security Fund during the crisis.
On June 7:
World Bank helps Kingdom tackle Covid-19.
In Cambodia, the government has introduced the $2 billion fourth round of stimulus measures aimed at ensuring economic and social stability. The move is designed to help businesses, factories and enterprises – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – to stay afloat while reducing the burden on poor people through social assistance programmes.
On June 1:
Cambodia has requested the European Union assist the Kingdom’s hard-hit tourism sector once the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved and international travel begins again.
The request came after Tourism Minister Thong Khon and EU Ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno held a bilateral talk last week, discussing Cambodia’s tourism sector, which is considered one of the country’s four economic pillars.
Thong Khon formally asked for the ambassador’s support and cooperation, requesting the union share advice on how to restore the sector while also seeking to promote the Kingdom’s tourism destinations in the EU market.
On May 27:
The Royal Government of Cambodia has announced additional measures to assist COVID-19-affected private sector and factory workers and to restore the economy after the crisis.
For tourism sector, registered hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, and tour agencies operating in Phnom Penh capital; Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, and Kampot provinces; and Bavet and Poipet cities will be exempted from all types of monthly taxes for another two months – June and July, stressing that registered airline companies will benefit from the exemption of minimum tax payment till July this year.
On May 25:
About 55,000 garment-textile workers and 4,300 others working in the tourism sector in Cambodia, who have become jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic, each will receive monthly financial support worth 40 USD through their Wing Specialised Bank accounts next week.
The Ministry of Labour’s spokesperson Heng Sour said the government has already allocated its budget to 126 factories and 53 hotels that have registered for support to their workers, the Khmer Times reported.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, approximately 300-350 million USD has been delivered to different economic sectors.
On Apr 21:
The Cambodian government on April 21 announced a three-month tax exemption for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies in Phnom Penh and several provinces.
The exemption takes effect from March to May this year, applicable for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Bavet city and Poipet city, which are registered with the General Department of Taxation.
On Apr 17:
Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MLVT), issued MOT Letter 11 and Instruction No. 045/20, respectively, which provides additional measures to support businesses and employees in the tourism and garment industry.
MOT Letter 11 extends the number of cities in which businesses in the tourism sector can apply for tax exemption, while Instruction No. 045/20 sets out the obligations that businesses must adhere to in order for them to suspend employment contracts. This includes assisting employees in applying for the government monthly allowance.
On Apr 9:
The Cambodian Government allocated up to US$ 2 billion for economic fallout from Coronavirus. The government allocated US$ 800 million to US$ 2 billion to address the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The lower end of the allocation would help deal with economic slowdown over the next six months, with the US $2 billion expected to be needed if the outbreak lasted more than one year.
On Apr 3:
The government has issued a three-month minimum tax exemption for the aviation sector and exemption on monthly taxes for tourism operators.
These measures are aimed at easing the burden of the private sector affected by the virus’ spread. The minimum 10 per cent tax exemption applied from last month to next month for airlines operating in Cambodia.
The government also allowed airlines to set up debt repayment plans to be paid in instalments following the temporary suspension.
On Feb 25:
Cambodia issued regulations to support businesses recently impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as well as from the partial withdrawal of ‘Everything but Arms’ (EBA) status by the European Union (EU).
The regulations provide tax breaks and holidays for the country’s manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, and property industries. These are key industries to Cambodia’s economy, especially, the garment and footwear sectors, which accounted for 80 percent of the country’s exports.
Tourism has been a growing sector to the Cambodian economy. In 2015, the government launched the ‘China Ready for Cambodia Tourism’ policy to attract more Chinese tourists. The policy resulted in two million Chinese tourists visiting the country in 2019.
With the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the country is unlikely to meet its target of two million Chinese visitors in 2020.
To combat this, hotels and guesthouses located in the Siem Reap province will be exempted from paying tax from February to May 2020.
Additionally, the government has offered special deals for tourists visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap and where the Angkor Wat temple is located. These are:
- A one-day ticket will be valid for two days until June 25, 2020;
- Three-day tickets will be valid for five days;
- The seven-day passes will be valid for 10 days.
On May 25:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Monday a 20-million-U.S.-dollar loan to support Laos’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Monday.
The loan, as additional financing to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Health Security Project, will assist the Lao Ministry of Health in procuring personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, testing kits, medical devices, and ambulances.
It will also help the Lao government provide supplies and training to frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, lab testing, and clinical care for COVID-19 patients. It will also cover the government’s costs for contact tracing, risk communications, and other interventions.
On May 20:
The United Nations will support the Lao Government’s preparedness and response to Covid-19 under the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund with two UN projects approved under the Fund last week.
The Fund was launched by the UN Secretary-General to support low- and middle-income countries overcome the health and development crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and support people most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption.
On May 17:
The Lao Ministry of Health with support from USAID has published a poster-like “Good Practices for Covid-19” for accommodation and food retailers.
On April 28:
Lao Prime Minister Thongoun Sisoulith has advised the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism to refurbish and upgrade tourism sites in preparation for the country’s reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Economic Research Institute (NERI) has given advice to the government to use tourism downtime wisely by investing in the sector in preparation for future tourism by upgrading tourist attractions and boosting services to ensure they meet international standards.
On April 10:
The Laos government-issued tax relief measures to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures are designed to assist the cashflow of businesses, in particular, micro-enterprises, in addition to encouraging businesses to retain employees.
Micro enterprises are exempted from paying income tax for three months from April, May, and June 2020. Micro enterprises are classified as businesses with one to three employees with micro and small businesses (MSMEs) playing an important role in Laos’ economy.
Businesses that have already made prepayments of income tax for those stated months can carry the payments forward to be used as deductions for the following months.
Employees, whether in the public or private sector, earning 5 million kip (US$559) or below will also be exempt from paying personal income tax (PIT) for three months (April, May, June). Employees earning this threshold will have the first 5 million kip (US$559) exempted and will be taxed at the progressive rates of 10-15 percent.
On October 15:
The Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Relation has approved a second tranche of COVID-19 funds on October 14 to support the ailing business. Read more
On October 9:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $30 million loan to boost Myanmar’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, especially in areas with a high minority population but inadequate access to health care and other essential services.
The loan, as additional financing to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Health Security Project, will help the government make immediate investments in 31 district and township hospitals across the country, including improving clinical care and management, infection prevention control, and human resource capacity to help the health system respond to COVID-19 and other future public health threats. Read more
On July 29:
The Myanmar Parliament approved a US$250 million loan from the Asian Development Bank on Wednesday to support the budget for its COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP).
The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI) said the loan will be used to provide social support for low-income households, to enhance the healthcare system and COVID-19 prevention, treatment and containment and to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Read more
On June 27:
The International Monetary Fund said Friday it will provide Myanmar with $356.5 million in emergency funding, as the southeast Asian country battles an economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund “will help address Myanmar’s urgent financing needs related to COVID-19 shock, and catalyze support from development partners.”
On June 10:
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has announced a COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan to help troubled tourism operators navigate the aftermath of the pandemic.
On June 3:
The government is considering a US$24 million bail-out plan to help Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) cover its operational expenses, U Win Khant, Permanent Secretary of the transport ministry, said during a Myanmar tourism forum on June 1.
MNA is currently burning almost $4.8 million on average a month on operational expenses such as fuel, insurance and repairs. It has so far racked up $24 million in debt it has not been able to pay for over the past five months and is now asking the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Investment (MOPFI) for a loan.
The airline has not been able to rake in much revenue since March, when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and the first cases were reported in Myanmar. It has so far been operating cargo and relief flights to cover some costs during the COVID-19 period.
On May 2:
Myanmar government has planned to allocate the second batch of fund of 200 billion kyats (US$142.8mil) to disburse more loans to the businesses affected by the Covid-19.
The government has been giving out loans to the most vulnerable businesses in the garment manufacturing sector, hotels and tourism, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the country’s Covid-19 Economic Relief Plan since the first batch of fund of 100 billion kyats (US$71.4mil), was allocated last month.
The 10 criteria which the applicant company needs to meet include the facts that it must be a citizen-owned enterprise hit by the Covid-19, must be an operating enterprise or an enterprise that has temporarily halted operations for three months and can start operations once it receives the loans and others.
On April 29:
Myanmar launched its COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan, which seeks to mitigate the economic impact of the global pandemic by implementing new measures and response plans ranging from monetary reforms and increasing government spending to strengthening the health-care system in the country.
According to the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI), the plan includes seven goals, 10 strategies, 36 action plans and 76 actions that seek to flatten the curve without flattening Myanmar’s economy.
The COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) focuses on improving the microeconomic environment through monetary stimulus; easing the impact on the private sector through improvements to the investment, trade and banking sectors; assisting laborers, workers and households; promoting innovative products and platforms; strengthening the health-care system; and increasing access to COVID-19 response financing, including contingency funds.
On April 28:
The Myanmar government is putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive COVID-19 relief plan to be announced very soon. Among the new response measures being considered is a plan to inject US$2-3 billion (2.8-4.2 trillion kyats) into the economy to help the country recover from the economic and social impacts of the global pandemic.
The Financial Regulatory Department under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry is in the process of drafting a Credit Guarantee Corporation Law.
The aim of the law is to support the provision of financing for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by enabling the establishment of a Credit Guarantee Corporation to guarantee credit to such companies. It will also allow participating financial institutions to spread credit risks and provide loans without collateral.
On April 21:
Myanmar state-owned and private hotels receive land lease payments for six months to ease the pressure wrought by COVID-19. The government will defer land lease payments for six months for a total of 47 state-owned and private hotels in Myanmar to ease the pressure wrought by COVID-19, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism announced on April 21.
On April 16:
Myanmar hotel and tour businesses will be exempted from paying licence fees for a period of one year as the sector continues to struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fees for applying for a new license or renewals, which include a hotel business fee, tour agencies fee, tour guide fee and hostel fee, will be exempted from April 1, 2020, until March 31, 2021
The government on March 29 also established a K100 billion fund from which loans at a one percent interest rate would be distributed to qualified firms in those sectors.
On March 30:
The Myanmar government has announced that local businesses that have been badly hit by COVID-19 can apply for loans as part of its initial stimulus package to cushion the impact of the global pandemic on the country’s economy.
The fund, which was created last week, earmarks 100 billion kyats (about US$72 million) for those sectors, which have been recognized as priorities for state assistance based on their vulnerability to COVID-19. The interest rate on loans provided by the fund will be only 1 per cent with a loan period of one year.
The committee said the businesses can apply for the loans from March 30 to April 9.
On March 19:
The Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association says it is seeking a K50 billion loan from the government in order to help overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector in Myanmar.
On October 17:
Thailand’s central bank on Saturday announced on its website an extension of grace period of debt moratorium for Thai small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as many of their businesses have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
The extension grace period will end on June 30, 2021. Read more
On October 7:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has issued a special tourist visa (STV) scheme that aims to encourage more foreign tourists and help revive the economy, shattered the pandemic
Applications for the STV are open from October 2020 to September 2021 and visitors can stay in the country for up to 90 days – which can be renewed twice, meaning tourists can stay up to nine months in the country. Read more
On September 25:
Airports of Thailand has extended concessions to international airlines through 2021 including a moratorium on office rentals, terminal services and fixed monthly concession charges. Read more
On September 8:
The cabinet on Tuesday approved measures to create jobs, the prime minister said, as the government tries to revive an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more
On August 4:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $1.5 billion loan to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“ADB is committed to providing timely support to Thailand and helping reduce the pandemic’s social and economic impacts on the country,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “Our budget support will help fund the government’s relief packages, which aim to better prepare the country’s health care system for possible future waves of COVID-19; protect the vulnerable; support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industries most affected by the outbreak such as tourism and manufacturing; and provide overall economic stimulus.” Read more
On July 13:
The government plans 100 billion baht of new soft loans to help small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourist and services sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said on Monday.
The loans will offer more relaxed conditions than the central bank’s 500-billion baht soft loan scheme. Read more
On July 2:
Hotel businesses will be exempted from paying an annual fee to the government until 2022 to help reduce their burden in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Royal Gazette website on Wednesday (July 1) announced the ministerial regulation on exemption of the fee for hotel businesses.
The regulation signed by Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda waives the room fee levied on hotels under the Hotel Business Fee Ministerial Regulation BE 2558 from July 1, 2020 until June 30, 2022 in order to help alleviate the financial burdens of operators who have suffered from the impact of Covid-19.
On June 30:
Travel again with taxpayer help when a program to boost domestic tourism begins July 15.
That’s the new date for the THB22.4-billion fund to begin subsidizing travel and accommodations for Thai nationals 20 and up through October, the cabinet announced today. It’s also when travellers can register with Krung Thai Bank, where they must hold an account to participate.
On June 26:
Tourism industry rolls out ‘Thailand Sure 2020’ health safety certification. Domestic tourism has restarted since the Phase 4 easing of restrictions took place in Thailand, with attractions now starting to see many guests. Some people however, are still concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19.
To alleviate this concern and promote domestic tourism, the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) has partnered with the Tourism Council of Thailand to introduce the Thailand Sure 2020 symbol, provided to tourism businesses certified for their health and safety measures.
On June 24:
Aircraft parking charges will be waived and a discount on landing and takeoff fees offered to all domestic and international airlines in the latest relief package approved for aviation operators, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).
The move improves on relief measures provided at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to help airlines save on expenses, that had included a 50% discount on parking fees.
The CAC also agreed that the 50% takeoff and landing fee discount, previously extended to 11 countries in the region, will cover aircraft from all countries operating flights into and out of Thailand.
On June 16:
The cabinet approved on Tuesday a domestic tourism package worth 22.4 billion baht to revitalise a key sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The first 18 billion baht of the package will fund subsidies for accommodation, food and other services provided at tourist destinations.
Domestic tourists will receive 5 million nights of hotel accommodations at 40% of room rates but the subsidy will be limited to 3,000 baht per night for up to 5 nights. The tourists will be responsible for the other 60%.
Subsidies for other services, including food, are capped at 600 baht per room per night. The subsidised tourist facilities must be outside the tourists’ native provinces to qualify. The subsidies are limited to 40% of actual expenses, with tourists paying the rest. This package is expected to help 24,700 hotels and other accommodation facilities, along with 36,755 restaurants.
On June 9:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the outline to its strategy, admittedly still in the draft stages, to support the Royal Thai government’s easing business activities and restrictions.
The TAT strategy so far has been outlined as follows:
To begin with TAT has identified basic truths of the new reality moving forward: To restart, the tourism industry must be under disease control measures until a vaccine is developed to prevent this disease. This will affect and change all behaviour and patterns of traditional travel and tourism activities starting from the aviation experience.
The Thai tourism industry has proved incredibly resilient over the years surviving countless negative experiences, but this time is the different because it is not only a domestic event, it is worldwide affecting valuable inbound international tourist markets.
On June 9:
Thailand’s Department of Health (DOH), Ministry of Public Health is recommending curbs on the number of visitors at popular tourist spots to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 transmissions as the Royal Thai Government considers how to resume more business activities ahead of schedule.
On June 9:
Hoteliers will get a waiver of the 40-baht fee per room per year until mid-2021 as part of Covid-19 relief. The cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal by the Interior Ministry, which would cost 31.3 million baht in state revenue.
The waiver takes effect from July 1 this year to June 30 next year. Read more
On June 8:
Eligible recipients of domestic tourism stimulus measures will be entitled to a 3,000-baht cash handout that will automatically be deducted from their bills when they spend nights or pay for food or services at participating hotels, restaurants and related tourism operators, says an informed source at the Finance Ministry.
The scheme will require only hotels, restaurants and tourism-related operators to sign up with the designated state agency, while service users are automatically eligible without any registration requirement.
On June 7:
The Ministry of Tourism has announced new safety guidelines and codes of conduct for tourism businesses to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and revive the sector.
The ministry will now require tourism businesses to be trained in Covid-19 response techniques.
The new guidelines also lay out additional conditions for all tourism businesses that plan on renewing their business licences. Failures to do so will result in an immediate suspension of their licence.
On June 4:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has formulated a strategy to support domestic tourism first and learn from the experience, as it eases into the challenge of bringing back international travellers.
In a TAT ‘backgrounder’ feature posted on its website earlier this week the government agency said it had identified basic truths one of them being that the tourism industry will now remain under disease control measures until a vaccine is developed to prevent this disease.
On May 25:
Thailand’s tourism and health authorities have teamed up to launch a unique certification scheme aimed to prepare the Thai tourism industry for the recovery period and enhance confidence amongst international and domestic tourists.
The “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” project was launched today by Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakan, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Chote Trachu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, and Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand at a press conference “Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration: (SHA)” at the Grand Ballroom, Floor 2, The Athenee Hotel, Bangkok.
On May 18:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a mini site dedicated to the “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” project, and part of the efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis and accelerate recovery in the travel and tourism sector.
The Amazing Thailand SHA certification is to prepare Thai tourism operators to be ready for the return of tourism post COVID-19 and developing confidence in Thailand as a destination among international and domestic tourists.
On May 17:
The Royal Thai Government has launched an online platform “Thai Chana” to retain the country’s effectiveness in the COVID-19 control measures, following the approval of the second phase for easing restrictions from 17 May.
The Thai Chana online platform is to facilitate disease-control tracking of customers and help prevent a second wave of COVID-19. Those who come in close contact with infected people at shops in the same hour will be called in for testing.
On May 14:
The government will launch a new mobile phone app to facilitate disease-control tracking of customers as shops reopen with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
On May 8:
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports Thailand has made an official announcement regarding the refund of travel businesses insurance in Thailand according to COVID-19 impact treatment measures.
On April 28:
Airports of Thailand has rolled out more concessions including cuts to office rentals to support airlines during the Covid-19 crisis.
For airlines that have temporarily closed all operations, AOT will exempt them from property rental fees, terminal and building service charges and fixed monthly concession charges for nine months, from 1 April to 31 December 2020. If they resume services during the period the concession ends.
On April 24:
Executives of eight Thai airlines on Friday met senior officials from the Fiscal Policy Office to discuss relief measures for their ailing businesses affected by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.
The carriers called for the government to provide soft loans worth 25 billion baht with 2% interest rate and a repayment period of five years to boost the airlines’ liquidity. The first instalment payment is proposed to start on Jan 1, 2021.
They asked for the loan disbursement of at least 25 per cent or about 6.25 billion baht within this month as some airlines are now facing financial difficulties.
On April 20:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in collaboration with the public and private sector partners, is introducing an “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification aimed at elevating the country’s tourism industry standards and developing confidence among international and domestic tourists.
The project is part of TAT’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis and accelerate recovery in the travel and tourism sector. The Amazing Thailand SHA certification is to prepare Thai tourism operators to be ready for the return of tourism post-COVID-19.
On April 2:
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Department of Tourism is currently drafting a ministerial regulation aiming to assist tourism business operators/stakeholders with regard to the guarantee fee when applying for a business license. The said fee is a requirement under the Tourism Business and Guide Act B.E. 2551, and the Ministry is currently reviewing to decrease the guarantee fee during the time of crisis or pandemic.
The Tourism Business and Guide Committee’s announcement on the Criteria for Tourists to Receive Refunds 2020 states that refunds shall be made to tourists in the case that it is impossible for the individual to travel or there is a reason for the cancellation of travel as advertised which is not the fault of the business operator, by the following criteria:
- If a tourist notifies the business operator of their travel cancellation in advance, not less than thirty days before the date of travel, they are to be refunded at the rate of one hundred percent of the service fee
- If a tourist notifies the business operator of their travel cancellation less than fifteen days before the date of travel, they are not eligible to receive a refund.
- In the event that there is a reason for the business operator to cancel but not the fault of the operator, tourists are to be refunded at the rate of one hundred percent of the service fee.
On March 11:
The Royal Thai Government has approved Phase One of a broad range of financial and fiscal relief measures to help Thai companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, alleviate the business downturn impact of the COVID-19 virus crisis.
Travel and tourism companies are a primary focus of attention for the relief measures. 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 2020. Chinese visitors alone were down 85%.
The package of relief measures was drafted by the Ministry of Finance based on the principles of “Timely, Targetted and Temporary as Necessary”. The measures, approved by the Thai Cabinet on 10 March, 2020, are as follows:
1) Low interest loans (at 2% interest for a period of 2 years, not over 20 million Baht per customer) in the total amount of 150 billion Baht.
2) Suspending the principal, reducing the interest rate for the debts of the Government Saving Bank and Government Housing Bank.
3) The Bank of Thailand has eased the rules for granting commercial bank loans.
4) The Social Security Fund will provide a credit line (at 3%, for a period of 3 years) in the amount of 30 billion Baht.
5) Reducing withholding tax from 3% to 1.5%.
6) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participating in low-interest credit measures to help entrepreneurs. Having a single account, 1.5 times deduction can be made for interest expenses that occur between 1 April, 2020 and 31 December, 2020,
7) Allowing SMEs to deduct 3 times the salary expenses paid in April 2020 to July 2020. For employees who are insured under the law on the Social Security Fund and receive wages of not more than 15,000 Baht per person per month.
On January 31:
The economic cabinet on Friday endorsed urgent aid measures for tourism operators battered by the coronavirus outbreak.
The measures include a soft-loan scheme and principal and interest payment suspension for six months by state-owned banks, including Krungthai Bank, Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.
The Finance Ministry will also reduce jet fuel excise tax and suspend income tax payment for six months for tourism operators, while the Transport Ministry will decrease landing fees.
On June 19:
Vietnam’s National Assembly on June 19 ratified the government’s proposal to cut corporate income tax (CIT) by 30 percent. The reduction was approved by more than 90 percent of all State members.
Of note, the most important factor is that the CIT reduction will apply to all businesses if their total revenue does not exceed the VND 200 billion (US$8.8 million) threshold in 2020. This means that most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible for such tax break regardless of the number of employees and the actual financial loss due to the pandemic.
The purpose of the ratification is to ensure an equal subsidy policy for businesses that have been making their best efforts to retain employees, which substantially contribute to social welfare.
On June 9:
Vietnam island Phu Quoc will become the test case for Vietnam’s tourism revival. The largest island in the country will open first to tourism to kickstart the economy. Phu Quoc also happens to be one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing island holiday destinations. Vietnam has reported just a handful of Covid-19 cases and no deaths but the pandemic has still decimated its tourism industry.
On May 16:
Vietnam Airlines partnered with the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) to launch a programme to boost domestic travel demand until the end of 2020.
On May 12:
Local administrations have also joined businesses’ efforts to recover the tourism sector. The People’s Committee of Sa Pa township in northern Lao Cai province has cooperated with the Sa Pa Tourism Association and the Fansipan Cable Car Service to kick off a tourism stimulus programme, the first of its kind, to help recover the local industry.
On April 27:
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced plans to quickly restart the tourism market as soon as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ends.
The ministry will focus on stimulating the domestic tourism market and coordinating with airlines, transport and travel firms to exempt or reduce service fees, including air tickets, accommodation costs and visiting fees.
It has also proposed the Government to consider policies to create favourable conditions for tourists to Việt Nam, including visa exemptions or visa fee reductions, increasing flights and opening new routes to foreign countries.
The ministry has proposed that home-stay owners, small and medium-sized businesses and laid-off tourism workers would be entitled to benefit from the VNĐ62 trillion (US$2.66 billion) financial package.
On April 9:
The government has adopted the following fiscal measures:
- Tax exemption and reduction, provision of appropriate credit, deferment of payment of taxes and rents to assist businesses affected by COVID-19 epidemic.
- The Government directs credit institutions to balance, fully and promptly respond to capital needs, shorten the time to consider loan application, and improve access to loans of customers; promptly apply supportive measures such as rescheduling, paying interest rate exemptions, keeping the debt group, reducing fees, etc. for customers who are in difficulties due to the effects of Covid-19 epidemic.
The main monetary measures include:
- Provision of support package of about 30 trillion VND to help companies and to ensure social security;
- Extension of payment of taxes and land rents to those affected by Covid-19 epidemic. Exempt, reduce taxes, fees, charges to remove difficulties for those affected by Covid-19 epidemic.
Offering solutions on tax and state budget, firstly the support package of about VND 30 trillion to help solve difficulties for businesses, ensure social security to cope with the Covid-19 epidemic.