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Under financial stress, Thailand to start charging tourist fees

Travellers who arrive in Thailand by air will have to pay 300 baht, while travellers who arrive by land or water will have to pay 150 baht

The National Tourism Policy Committee’s proposal to impose a tourist levy of 150/300 baht on visitors who enter Thailand has been accepted by the country’s Cabinet.

Traisulee Traisoranakul, the deputy spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office, stated that the cost for travellers who arrive by land or sea is 150 baht per person from June 2023 onwards.

According to Traisulee Traisoranakul, the money raised “will be used to manage and develop tourism, including insurance for foreign visitors while they are in Thailand.”

The fee was in consideration for years and had been expected to go into effect in 2022.

Travellers who arrive by air will have to pay 300 baht (about USD 8), while travellers who arrive by land or water will have to pay 150 baht (about USD 4).

In all, the government expects to collect about 3.9 billion baht in fees this year, as per Bloomberg reports.

For travellers arriving by air, the tax will be included in the price of their ticket. However, it still has not been determined how the tax will be collected from those arriving by other means.

If a traveller possesses a diplomatic or official passport, a work permit, or both, they will not be charged a tourism tax. Children under two and transit users will also get exemptions.

In light of the new necessity to levy the tourism tax, the Cabinet has also directed the country’s immigration bureau to evaluate the visa rules, regulations, conditions, and associated legislations.

The modifications must now contain documentation of the fee’s payment for the immigration procedure.

According to Traisulee Traisoranakul, who cited a report by Thailand’s ministry of tourism and sports, Thailand is the only country in the world to collect a tourism tax while also offering welfare benefits to visitors, including personal accident insurance coverage.

She continued by saying that the money from the tourism tax will assist in easing the financial strains on the Thai government, which now spends between 300 million and 400 million baht annually on providing healthcare for visitors.

The government is also spending money on maintaining tourist destinations, the environment, and natural resources impacted by tourism-related activities.

Only by 90 days after it has been published in the Royal Gazette the tourism fee will take effect.

In 2021, Thailand’s tourism sector, which is still recuperating from the COVID-19 pandemic, only saw roughly 430,000 visitors.

Once Thailand gradually eliminated its COVID-related travel restrictions starting in 2021, more than 11 million foreign tourists arrived between January and December last year.

Once China’s border reopened earlier this month, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha voiced optimism that the kingdom would receive more than 30 million foreign visitors in 2023.

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