Thailand plans to start collecting a 300 baht (S$12) fee from foreign tourists arriving in the country starting from June, with the money to be used to support visitors involved in accidents and develop tourist destinations, said a minister on Wednesday.
Tourism is a crucial sector in South-east Asia’s second-largest economy and contributed about 12 per cent of gross domestic product before the Covid-19 pandemic. The timing of the tourist fee proposal is interesting, as tourism to Thailand has been on the rise in the last months, with increasing numbers expected with the reopening of China.
According to Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, “fees won’t be collected from foreigners with work permits and border passes.” This leaves many groups exempt from the fee, with a sharper focus on international arrivals.
Almost exactly a year ago, there was talk about a “sustainability fee” which would be charged to tourists entering the country. This went quiet for the months that followed, but now it seems to have returned with a new moniker and fresh excitement. The proposal will be subject to Cabinet approval.
Tourism spending is forecast to reach at least 2.38 trillion baht in 2023, said Mr Phiphat. In 2019, Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million arrivals.