Thailand’s cabinet has approved slashing taxes on wine and spirits in a bid to promote tourism.
Lawan Saengsanit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance, revealed on Tuesday (2 January) that excise taxes on wine will be reduced from 10% to 5% and on spirits from 10% to zero.
Import tariffs on wines, currently assessed at 54% and 60% of declared value, will also be exempted for one year.
Additionally, the excise tax on entertainment venues will be halved, dropping from 10% to 5%. These tax adjustments will be in place till the end of this year, according to a filing from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai Excise Department collected Bt177.6bn ($5.7bn) in alcohol, beer and beverage taxes in its fiscal 2023. The figure included Bt64.17bn from alcoholic beverages, Bt86.5bn from beer and Bt26.95bn from other beverages.
Last year, Thailand reached its target of 28m tourists, generating Bt1.2tn, government data showed.
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The country is also planning to review its current VAT refund procedures for tourists, aiming to streamline the process.
Just Drinks has contacted major beverage alcohol group ThaiBev for comment.
The Chang brand owner said last year it expects beer consumption to remain weak after seeing the company’s moves to up prices hit volumes in recent months during its annual results.
ThaiBev said at the time that if these excise taxes were changed, it would increase prices again but management noted competitors would do the same.
Company vice president Ueychai Tantha-Obhas then said it hopes “tourism will come back” after a year of lower-than-expected visitors from China.