After plans for a tourist fee were shelved last August, Thailand has announced that it does plan to introduce this new charge after all.
According to Thailand’s Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, this new fee will come into effect in June, although it is still pending cabinet approval.
The fee will be 300 baht (approximately $9 USD), and it will apply to all foreign tourists arriving in Thailand starting in June.
Here’s what you need to know about the new tourist tax in Thailand:
Why Is Thailand Introducing A Tourist Fee?
The country’s Tourism Minister stated that this fee will support medical costs for foreign tourists who are involved in accidents or injured while in Thailand, as well as support the development of tourist destinations in Thailand.
Previously, Thailand required all foreign visitors to demonstrate proof of travel insurance coverage, but that was dropped in July 2022.
Presumably, this new fee will go towards supporting tourists who are involved in medical emergencies and without travel insurance in Thailand, but it’s unclear exactly how the funds will be utilized.
According to previous announcements of this plan, 50 baht will be set aside for tourists’ medical costs out of every 300 baht fee.
Additionally, a portion of the fee (250 baht) will be distributed to the tourism sector, but details on how exactly this will happen have not been made available either.
Who Does Thailand’s Tourism Tax Apply To?
According to Thailand’s Tourism Minister, this new fee will be charged to all foreign visitors arriving in Thailand.
It will not apply to foreigners who have a work permit or residency in Thailand.
It will, however, apply to all foreign tourists coming to Thailand.
Finalized details have not yet been released on how visitors will pay this fee, but it is expected that the charge will be tacked onto airfare on all flights into Thailand.
Tourism Recovery In Thailand
Prior to Covid, Thailand welcomed 40 million international tourists in 2019.
In 2020, that number dropped to just 6.7 million before March, when the country completely shut down tourism. In 2021, Thailand only received 427,000 international tourists, which was absolutely devastating for a country where over 4 million people work in tourism.
In 2022, the country began to recover, but harsh restrictions from the Thai government continued to stifle the country’s tourism industry, and the country still only saw 11.8 million foreign tourists.
This year, the Tourism Minister is projecting over 25 million foreign tourists, so the new fee may be an attempt to recoup some of the money lost due to the Thai government’s decision to ban tourism for several years.
The tourism recovery in Thailand is still on shaky ground after the country announced it would be re-imposing a Covid vaccine mandate for all travelers, only to walk back the decision two days later after massive outrage.
Other Countries With Tourist Taxes
Thailand isn’t the first country to introduce a tourist tax that applies to foreign visitors.
Venice, Italy plans to introduce a fee this summer that will cost between €3 and €10 ($3.25 to $10.75 USD) depending on crowd levels.
Japan charges visitors 1,000 yen (approximately $7.50 USD) as a “sayonara tax” when they leave the country.
Visitors to Cancun, Mexico must pay 241 pesos (around $12.75 USD) upon arrival at the airport.
And New Zealand has one of the steepest tourist taxes of all, with most foreign visitors required to pay the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, which is $35 NZD (around $22 USD.)
If Thailand’s tourist fee is approved, it will join a long list of other countries that are already charging a similar tax.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com