The Bangkok Post is reporting more woes for Thailand’s embattled tourism community. Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-Archa says that the 5-billion-baht fund for tourism operators is not enough for all of the operators to survive the downturn. The financial support program was officially launched yesterday and will run until April 30.
The Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FTTA) predicted that at least 450 tour operators would seek financial help worth at least 1.8 billion baht. More than 1,000 restaurant operators are expected to submit loan applications for 500 million baht, with small hotels likely to seek up to 2 billion baht. The requests for loans during the 1.5-month period will exceed 5 billion baht for sure.
"If demand is excessive, we will go forward with the second fund,'' says Chumpol. The minister also predicts that Thailand’s tourism business will pick up near the end of 2009 – as long as the private and government sectors work hand-in-hand to promote the country.