Thailand causes controversy with introduction of ‘entry fee’ for tourists

Thailand will begin collecting a 300-baht ($9) “entry fee” from foreign tourists starting from April regardless whether they enter the country by air, land or sea, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on January 12.

The fee would be used for two purposes, one being additional funding of the development of local tourist attractions and the second being an insurance programme for visitors.

The levy would be added to air ticket prices, while the method of collections from entry by land or sea has yet to be determined, Thanakorn said. On solution for the latter could be a special payment app.

The insurance would cover expenses for accidents and deaths of tourists during their stay in Thailand, covering up to 500,000 baht ($15,050) for medical expenses in case of an accident and one million baht in case of death, he added.

The fee is expected to generate at least 1.5 billion baht ($45.1 million) this year from expected five million tourists, Thanakorn noted, defending the plan with the rationale that “a number of other countries“ were already imposing such a fee.

“Amazing Thailand New Chapter”

The move, ironically part of Thailand’s tourism and sports ministry promotion measures for 2022 themed “Amazing Thailand New Chapter,” has immediately caused controversy among tourism groups and other stakeholders, as well as expats.

The plan has been in discussions for a long time and its implementation was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Critics say since the pandemic is not over yet and the country’s tourism outlook for 2022 is still uncertain, the “entry fee” declaration comes at the wrong time and also sends the wrong signal to potential tourists.

Several tourism and hotel associations demanded that the introduction of the “entry fee” should be delayed or even dropped as Thailand’s recovery from the tourism crunch caused by the pandemic was still fragile and the country would lose out amid strong competition from other global and regional holiday destinations.

“Entry fee” should be delayed or dropped,” tourism stakeholders says

They said a more appropriate time to enforce the fee would be when Thailand’s tourism returns to 2019 levels, after Chinese tourists start to come back and global travel properly resumes. Also, there should be special regulations for tourism groups, frequent cross-border travelers and migrant workers.

Expats, for their part, reacted mostly upset to the plan, noting  that – even though the fee is actually low – tourists were again targeted as “money machines” since they, for example, already pay much higher prices at tourism attractions than locals in a long-established two-tier pricing system.

They also noted that a flight ticket with an added “entry fee” does not distinguish between a tourist and someone who enters the country for other purposes, for example as foreign resident or businessperson. It is also unclear whether a foreign-Thai couple would have to buy different air tickets, one with and one without “entry fee.”

It is also unclear whether arriving tourists would be handed over a policy contract of the insurance for which they have paid for, some noted.

“If Thailand wants to entice more tourists, it should be lowering the bar instead of inventing new extortions on top of compulsory health insurance and mandatory hotel quarantine” one expat grumbled.

 

 



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

Thailand will begin collecting a 300-baht ($9) “entry fee” from foreign tourists starting from April regardless whether they enter the country by air, land or sea, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on January 12. The fee would be used for two purposes, one being additional funding of the development of local tourist attractions and the second being an insurance programme for visitors. The levy would be added to air ticket prices, while the method of collections from entry by land or sea has yet to be determined, Thanakorn said. On solution for the latter could be a special payment app....

Thailand will begin collecting a 300-baht ($9) “entry fee” from foreign tourists starting from April regardless whether they enter the country by air, land or sea, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on January 12.

The fee would be used for two purposes, one being additional funding of the development of local tourist attractions and the second being an insurance programme for visitors.

The levy would be added to air ticket prices, while the method of collections from entry by land or sea has yet to be determined, Thanakorn said. On solution for the latter could be a special payment app.

The insurance would cover expenses for accidents and deaths of tourists during their stay in Thailand, covering up to 500,000 baht ($15,050) for medical expenses in case of an accident and one million baht in case of death, he added.

The fee is expected to generate at least 1.5 billion baht ($45.1 million) this year from expected five million tourists, Thanakorn noted, defending the plan with the rationale that “a number of other countries“ were already imposing such a fee.

“Amazing Thailand New Chapter”

The move, ironically part of Thailand’s tourism and sports ministry promotion measures for 2022 themed “Amazing Thailand New Chapter,” has immediately caused controversy among tourism groups and other stakeholders, as well as expats.

The plan has been in discussions for a long time and its implementation was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Critics say since the pandemic is not over yet and the country’s tourism outlook for 2022 is still uncertain, the “entry fee” declaration comes at the wrong time and also sends the wrong signal to potential tourists.

Several tourism and hotel associations demanded that the introduction of the “entry fee” should be delayed or even dropped as Thailand’s recovery from the tourism crunch caused by the pandemic was still fragile and the country would lose out amid strong competition from other global and regional holiday destinations.

“Entry fee” should be delayed or dropped,” tourism stakeholders says

They said a more appropriate time to enforce the fee would be when Thailand’s tourism returns to 2019 levels, after Chinese tourists start to come back and global travel properly resumes. Also, there should be special regulations for tourism groups, frequent cross-border travelers and migrant workers.

Expats, for their part, reacted mostly upset to the plan, noting  that – even though the fee is actually low – tourists were again targeted as “money machines” since they, for example, already pay much higher prices at tourism attractions than locals in a long-established two-tier pricing system.

They also noted that a flight ticket with an added “entry fee” does not distinguish between a tourist and someone who enters the country for other purposes, for example as foreign resident or businessperson. It is also unclear whether a foreign-Thai couple would have to buy different air tickets, one with and one without “entry fee.”

It is also unclear whether arriving tourists would be handed over a policy contract of the insurance for which they have paid for, some noted.

“If Thailand wants to entice more tourists, it should be lowering the bar instead of inventing new extortions on top of compulsory health insurance and mandatory hotel quarantine” one expat grumbled.

 

 



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply