Thailand Wants to Pay Its Own Citizens to Get Out of Bangkok to Boost Domestic Tourism
International tourists keep pouring into Thailand -- 38.27 million in 2018 -- with over 20 million of them stopping in Bangkok, the country's bustling capital city. The beaches of Phuket continue to attract visitors and influencers. And there's Ko Phi Phi, which had to close itself to tourism following Leonardo DiCaprio's 2000 film, "The Beach."
But the Thai government wants people — especially its own citizens —to know that there are many other places in the 198,117-square-mile country to see.
To encourage domestic tourism countrywide, the Finance Ministry has set aside 15 million baht ($467,730 USD) to pay people to travel outside of the major tourist hubs.
If the proposal becomes government policy, participants will receive a 1,500-baht ($47 USD) e-payment to use at shops that are a part of the program in over 55 provinces. A representative from the Finance Ministry told The Nation that the country hopes to launch the campaign before July this year.
Travel and Leisure reported that Thai officials hope that the new initiative will stimulate the country’s economy, particularly in rural areas which have been suffering from drought.
In order to qualify for the 1,500-baht payment, you must have Thai citizenship and be at least 18 years old. The Finance Ministry hasn't announced how the application system will work, but it is expecting to receive submissions from approximately 10 million Thai citizens.