Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, has confirmed a proposal to charge foreign tourists a fee of 300 baht per visit. The fee will be used to develop tourist destinations as well as providing visitors with insurance benefits while in the Kingdom. The proposal has been approved by the National Tourism Policy Committee and is set to be announced in the Royal Gazette once it goes into effect.
Phiphat, who’s expecting around 10 million people to visit Thailand this year, says the fee will ensure anyone who gets sick or is injured can receive medical treatment. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, 34 baht of the 300 baht fee will go towards insurance coverage. Chote Trachu from the Tourism Ministry says the fee was supposed to be implemented last year, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant it was postponed and will now begin this year.
Despite the introduction of the Special Tourist Visa, Thailand has struggled to regain much of its lost international tourism. The mandatory 14-day quarantine is thought to play a large part in people’s reluctance to visit, particularly if paired with quarantine or self-isolation restrictions in their home countries. In addition, a surging second or third wave in many places around the world has resulted in strict lockdowns, meaning it will be at least the second half of this year before international tourists start to arrive in any meaningful numbers.
Given the downturn, the TAT has until recently been pinning its hopes on the domestic market. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 within the Kingdom has had a significant impact on homegrown tourism. While the TAT previously predicted 100 million domestic trips last year, this forecast has been revised down to 95 million.