Siam Paragon, Thailand's third largest shopping mall located in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: Internet)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Finance Ministry of Thailand has agreed with the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to set up more VAT refund offices in shopping centres to encourage foreign tourists to buy more local products, the Thai media reported on December 11.

The proposal, initiated by the new minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, looks to make it easier for foreign tourists to get tax refunds and boost the country’s economy. The two ministries are discussing establishing a committee to work with the private sector on the issue.

VAT refund offices are currently located at all eight international airports across Thailand. Foreign visitors have to go through a process supervised by immigration officers on departure to acquire their tax refunds. If the VAT refund offices were available at tourist spots and shopping centres, the foreign visitors would be more likely to spend their refunds on more local products and street food.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has proposed a tax deduction for travel expenses to encourage more people to travel and boost the rural economy. The tax incentives for travellers would allow each taxpayer to reduce the value of travel expenses by up to 15,000 baht per person. The initiative will be applied to secondary provinces receiving no more than four million local and foreign tourists a year.

Revenue from tourism in Thailand is predicted to grow by 8 percent this year to 75.43 billion USD, higher than the annual average of 3-5 percent over the past several years. The government of Thailand targets a 10 percent growth to get a turnover of 90.5 billion USD in 2018.-VNA