Thailand to close inbound duty-free shops to promote local spending

Thailand will close inbound Duty Free stores in international arrival zones to boost domestic sales, with projections for up to 3.5 billion baht a year (US$95.7 million) of new local retail spending.

The closure aims to promote domestic consumption and use of local goods, redirecting spending and increasing overall economic value.

According to the Bangkok Post, the operators of inbound tax-free stores at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, U-tapas, Samui, and Krabi, have agreed to cease operations of their stores at the eight international airports.

Tax benefits for bonded warehouses in arrivals will also be suspended.

“There will be guidelines for promoting Thailand as a tourism and spending hub, as proposed by the Ministry of Finance,” added deputy government spokesperson Rudklao Intawong Suwankiri.

The ministry expects the closure of inbound duty-free shops to increase the spending of foreign tourists by 570 baht per person per trip.

Meanwhile, in a separate initiative, the government says it will remove the prohibition of alcohol sales at airports on Buddhist holidays when bans currently apply, to promote tourism.

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