Thailand sets-up a “tourist tax”

Announced at the beginning of the year, this measure wanted by the Thai government is slow to be implemented. This tax will offer a 30 days travel insurance and will be used to finance sustainable tourism projects.

thailand tourism

A small tax to pay to enter Thailand

This is a small expense to add to your travel budget if you plan to visit the Land of Smiles soon. Initially scheduled for January and then April 2022, the new tourist tax wanted by the Thai government has been postponed several times. “Its amount will be 300 baht, but its date of application is not yet defined by the authorities,” says Soraya Homchuen, director of the Tourism Office of Thailand.

If the collection system is already ready in the airports, the government is still thinking about the one that will be implemented at sea and land entry points, says to the Bangkok Post newspaper the deputy secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Mongkon Wimonrat. The program will start when all the entry points are equipped. This should delay the introduction of the tax until at least January 2023.

Payment on arrival

The authorities wanted this tax to be collected directly by the airlines when the ticket was purchased, as is already the case for airport taxes or taxes relating to safety and security, for example. However, the Association of Airlines in the Kingdom opposed the proposal, arguing that the fee could be discriminatory. Indeed, the carriers only have access to the data on the passengers’ passports (name, first name, date of birth, etc.). In this case, it is impossible to distinguish between a tourist and an expatriate or a diplomat, the latter being exempt from this tax. The government has therefore opted for a collection upon arrival at customs.

“The revenues will be used for insurance coverage of foreign tourists and the improvement of infrastructure for sustainable tourism,” the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, told AFP earlier this year. The insurance, valid for a maximum of 30 days, will cover the risks of accident, riot, terrorist attack and natural disaster up to 500,000 baht (about €13,700), says the Bangkok Post. But not the risks related to Covid-19 or other diseases for which tourists are invited to take out optional travel insurance before departure.

Thailand tourism

Tourist taxes elsewhere in the world

Thailand is not the only country to apply a tourist tax to foreign visitors. Recently, Bhutan tripled its amount, now set at €200 per day per traveler. Since 2019, foreigners must pay a €9 fee upon arrival in Bali (Indonesia), a sum that goes back into a program to preserve the environment and Balinese culture. This fee is also applied locally. In many cities around the world, a tourist tax is applied to each night spent in a tourist accommodation (hotel, camping, etc.). In Italy, Venice plans to charge a tax of €3 to €10 to day visitors starting in January 2023. But there too, its implementation has been delayed time and time again.

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