A customer takes a photo with his mobile phone at a Thai Airways pop-up airplane-themed restaurant at the airline’s headquarters in Bangkok on Sept. 10, 2020.

Mladen Antonov | AFP | Getty Images

Thailand will focus on spurring domestic consumption and reopening an economy badly hit by the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the country’s new finance ministry said on Monday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy suffered its deepest contraction in 22 years in the second quarter as the pandemic hammered the key tourism sector and domestic activity.

The other main tasks include boosting liquidity, supporting tourism and accelerating public spending, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told reporters on his first official day at work.

“The most urgent task is to boost liquidity for businesses affected by Covid-19 as the business sector accounts for 70% of GDP,” he said.

The government will continue to introduce measures to support domestic consumption, which makes up half of the economy, and tourism, Arkhom said.

Later on Monday, the cabinet will consider planned tax breaks to increase spending, which is estimated to add 120 billion baht ($3.9 billion) into the economy.

The ministry will speed up government spending, which accounts for 20% of GDP, including a delayed 400 billion baht budget earmarked for reviving the economy under a bigger 1 trillion baht borrowing plan, Arkhom said.

Regarding a persistently strong baht, Arkhom said it is “an unresolved problem” and the ministry will closely
monitor.

“But the central bank will take care of it,” he said, speaking after the baht hit a more than two-week high last week.

Longer-term measures will include reopening particularly to foreign tourists to help the economy to continue to expand next year, Arkhom said.

“Although the situation looks better next year and there may be a vaccine, it will still take one or two

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan Airlines <9201.T> wants to create a low-cost carrier network with three of its discount carriers to tap leisure travel that, unlike business travel, could rebound as the coronavirus wanes, the company president said on Wednesday.

“Aviation won’t return to what it was before and business travel demand could even shrink further. One of our targets is tourism,” Yuji Akasaka told a media briefing.

Japan Airlines’ three low-cost regional carriers include Jetstar, which it operates with Qantas Airlines,

, Spring Airlines Japan, a joint venture with China’s Spring Airlines <601021.SS>, and its wholly owned ZIPAIR unit.

Akasaka did not say whether Japan would seek to formally merge their operations through acquisitions.

Japan Airlines, like other carriers, has been hammered by a collapse in international air travel to about a tenth of what it was before the coronavirus outbreak, but has seen domestic flight demand rebound helped by a government campaign to promote tourism.

“The impact of that campaign has been significant and in late September going into October we are seeing traveler numbers increase to about 50% of what they were a year ago,” Akasaka said.

To survive the downturn in demand, which Japan Airlines expects to last until at least 2024 on international routes, Akasaka said the carrier would look to boost revenue from non-airline businesses such as drone parcel deliveries.

Japan Airlines last month announced a tie-up with Matternet, to launch the U.S. company’s urban drone logistics business in Japan. This year, it also invested in a German start up, Volocopter, that is developing air taxis.

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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