International travellers who arrive in Thailand by air will be charged a tourism fee of 300 baht per person and 150 baht if they arrive by land or sea.
BANGKOK: Thailand’s Cabinet has approved a proposal by the National Tourism Policy Committee to charge a tourism fee of 300 baht (US$8.80) per person from international travellers who arrive in the country by air.
For travellers who arrive by land or sea, the fee is 150 baht per person, said the deputy spokesperson to the Prime Minister’s Office Traisulee Traisoranakul after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Feb 14).
“The collected fee will be used to manage and develop tourism, which includes insurance for international tourists during their stay in Thailand,” said Ms Traisulee.
Travellers will be exempted from the tourism fee if they hold a diplomatic or official passport, or a work permit. Transit passengers and children aged two and below will also be excluded.
The Cabinet has also instructed the Immigration Bureau to review the visa rules, regulations and conditions as well as related immigration laws, in view of the new requirement to impose the tourism fee.
The changes should include proof of payment for the fee as part of the immigration process.
Citing a study by Thailand’s ministry of tourism and sports, Ms Traisulee said Thailand is the first country in the world to collect a tourism fee and at the same time provide welfare benefits for tourists, including a personal accident insurance protection.
She added that the money collected from the tourism fee will help reduce financial burdens on the Thai government, which spends about 300 million to 400 million baht per year in providing healthcare for tourists.
Other expenditures incurred by the government include the preservation of tourist attractions, the environment and natural resources that have been affected by tourism activities.
The tourism fee will come into effect no sooner than 90 days after it has been announced in the Royal Gazette.
Thailand’s tourism industry, which is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, registered only about 430,000 tourist arrivals in 2021.
More than 11 million international tourist arrivals were recorded between January and December last year, after Thailand gradually lifted its COVID-related travel restrictions from 2021.
Earlier this month, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed confidence that the country will welcome more than 30 million international tourists this year, following China’s border reopening.