In Thailand, travellers seem to stay on the beaten path. In the past year the government has taken steps to lure its 35 million foreign visitors per year to new destinations – like Lamphun, near Chiang Mai in the north, or Phang Nga, near Phuket in the south – to share the wealth.
The current scheme awards tax breaks to travellers who elect to lodge in un-tramped areas to the tune of THB15,000 (€400). This week the government tweaked the rule so that smaller lodges and hotels are included too. Now the policy encompasses establishments with as few as four rooms and a capacity of under 20 guests. While the move is unlikely to be a money-spinner in the short term, according to Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the tourism authority – who estimates that the programme will cost THB50m (€1.3m) – it will boost local economies and encourage travellers to explore new places.