Thailand introduces tourist fee to cover accident insurance and develop tourism infrastructure, including government sustainability efforts.
Thailand is imposing a new TH฿300 (US$9) fee for foreign tourists starting from April 2022. Funds collected will go towards developing attractions and covering accident insurance for visitors who are unable to settle costs themselves, according to senior officials.
Thailand has always been one of Asia’s most popular destinations, but has been negatively impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with only about 200,000 tourists arriving in 2021, compared to almost 40 million in 2019.
Despite continued efforts to kickstart tourism in the country, the new Omicron variant has put a halt to these plans.
“Part of the fee will be used to take care of tourists,” the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “We’ve encountered times when insurance didn’t have coverage for tourists … which became our burden to take care of them.”
Supasorn added that funds would also be used to upgrade tourism infrastructure.
The new tourist fee adds to pre-existing pandemic-induced requirements for foreign tourists including pre-payment for Covid-19 tests, hotel accommodation for quarantine, and having insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment of at least US$50,000.
The fee will be included in airline ticket prices and will contribute to the government’s sustainable tourism plans, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.
In November 2021, Thailand lowered quarantine restrictions, substituting them for a “Test & Go” scheme for vaccinated visitors, but this was halted in December due to global spread of the Omicron variant.
Thailand expects tourist numbers to increase in the new year, going up to between 5 and 15 million foreign arrivals, and are expected to generate TH฿800 billion (US$23.97 billion), Wangboonkongchana added.
Thailand’s leading business group predicted 5 to 6 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2022.
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