Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, has announced plans to impose a 300 baht ($9) fee on foreign tourists arriving in the country starting June 2021. The fee is expected to be used to support visitors involved in accidents and develop tourist destinations. Tourism is a crucial sector in Thailand’s economy, contributing about 12% of gross domestic product before the pandemic. The proposal is subject to cabinet approval.
Support for Tourists Involved in Accidents
The fee collected from foreign tourists will be used to support visitors who are involved in accidents while in the country. This includes providing financial assistance for medical expenses and other costs associated with the accident. The fee will also be used to cover the costs of repatriating tourists who are unable to continue their trip due to an accident.
Development of Tourist Destinations
The money raised from the fee will also be used to develop tourist destinations in Thailand. This includes investing in infrastructure, such as building new roads and improving existing ones, as well as developing new attractions and facilities.
The goal is to enhance the overall tourist experience and make it more enjoyable for visitors.
According to Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the fee will not be collected from foreigners with work permits and border passes. He also stated that Thailand expects 25 million tourist arrivals this year.
Tourism is a major source of income for Thailand, and the government is keen to revive the sector after the pandemic. Tourism spending is forecast to reach at least 2.38 trillion baht this year. In 2019, Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million arrivals, making it the fifth-most visited country in the world in absolute terms.
In 2020, the tourism sector generated around 15.36 billion US dollars, corresponding to 3.0% of its GDP and approximately 52% of all international tourism receipts in Southeast Asia.
The proposed fee on foreign tourists is expected to generate significant revenue for the government, which will be used to support visitors involved in accidents and develop tourist destinations. The move is a step towards reviving the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, the proposal is still subject to cabinet approval, and it remains to be seen how it will be received by the public and the tourism industry.