Thailand, one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, has announced that they will impose a tourism fee next year intended to subsidize tourism-related projects and transform the industry.
The post will look at the new tax and how Thailand plans to use the funds generated to transform its tourism industry which the Covid-19 pandemic has badly impacted.
Thailand Will Start Charging A Tourist Tax In 2022
Starting in 2022, the Tourism and Sports Ministry will start collecting a 500-baht tourism fee (approximately $14) for a “tourism transformation fund.”
The Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the fund’s creation last week, but the tax will officially go into effect once it is published in the country’s Royal Gazette, the public journal and newspaper of record for Thailand.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, said they aim to collect 5 billion baht within the first year, assuming 10 million foreign arrivals in 2022.
It has yet to be determined how the fee will be collected from arriving tourists.
Money Will Be Used To Transform Tourism Industry
The fund is expected to subsidize projects that transform the industry, helping the country shift from mass tourism and focus on things like eco-friendly tourism.
“The projects should be co-creations and the government should use the fund to support projects that can create an economic impact,” said Supasorn.
“The additional cost won’t have an impact on tourists as we want to focus on the quality market… We hope this fund will support a national tourism makeover creating more safe and clean places.”
The National Tourism Policy Committee already approved starting the fund earlier this year, with a proposed fee of 300 baht per person.
The additional 200 baht is allocated for projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises, or social enterprises that would like to transform their business to meet the fund’s strategy.
The fund is also meant to budget insurance and development projects for foreign visitors that require government initiatives rather than the private sector.
After the concept is approved, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and TAT will discuss with related authorities about setting up the fund committee and developing criteria to determine which projects are eligible for financial support.
Supasorn said the fund’s objective is not to tackle the financial impact of the pandemic but rather focus on long-term local economic growth.
Tourist taxes are not uncommon, and many popular destinations already use them, such as New Zealand, Mexico’s Baja California Sur, and most recently Venice Italy.
Thailand was planning to impose a tourist tax for international visitors, but plans were put on hold after the devastating impacts of Covid-19. The country went from 40 million tourist arrivals in 2019 to 6.5 million in 2020.
The pandemic has prompted many popular tourist destinations to reassess the way the tourism sector functions, which Thailand seems to be doing with this new tax.
Thailand recently eased restrictions further, lowering the duration of its mandatory quarantine for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
From November 1st, the country is planning to remove the quarantine altogether for Bangkok and nine other popular destinations, which should positively impact the number of visitors entering the country.
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