BANGKOK, 24 February 2022: Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn insists the controversial THB300 travel tax is still on the table despite a decision to delay its introduction beyond the target launch date of 1 April.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has been pushing for the introduction of a tax on all incoming tourists for years. Still, it faces stiff opposition from a travel industry fighting for survival after two years of Covid-19 restrictions. Earlier this month, the Thai cabinet postponed the introduction of the entry tax for foreign tourists without specifying a new launch date.
Earlier this week in comments first reported by Associated Press, he stressed the entry fee’ on all foreign tourists visiting the country would be eventually implemented, noting it would be used for tourists’ insurance and an emergency fund for those travelling in the country.
Phiphat was quoted saying the collection process would be transparent and accountable to the public and would not end up in anyone’s “pocket”.
Part of the fee will go towards funding basic health and accident insurance cover for travellers to provide emergency services. The balance will fund the restoration of tourist and heritage sites supervised by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ permanent secretary.
It is highly likely the USD9 tax will be introduced later in the year once collection issues have been resolved, particularly at land checkpoints. For airline travellers entering the country, the fee will be included in the fare along with the THB700 airport tax.
Travel industry opposition focuses mainly on the timing, claiming it will be perceived as yet another burden for travellers in addition to having to pay for Covid-19 tests and mandatory medical insurance under the Test & Go scheme. They are suggesting the tax should be postponed until after Covid-19 is downgraded from a pandemic to endemic and costly tests are eliminated.