Off The Wire
Thailand approves tax incentive in bid to to boost domestic tourism
SUKHOTHAI, Thailand, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved a tax incentive it hopes will get Thais to visit provinces that do not attract huge numbers of foreign and domestic tourists.
The junta will allow Thais a tax deduction of up to 15,000 baht ($457.74) on what they spend on items, such as food, hotels and accommodations, in 55 "secondary" provinces with less tourism income than others, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong told reporters.
The provinces offering the tax break include parts of the country's south, north and northeast regions.
Tourism has been a bright spot, along with exports, in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.
The tourist sector accounts for about 12 percent of gross domestic product.
The government predicts a record 35.4 million foreign visitors this year, up 9 percent from last year. For 2018, it forecasts Thailand will attract 37 million-38 million tourists.
($1 = 32.77 baht)
(Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Richard Borsuk)