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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Thai Tour Operators Seek Clarity Regarding New Tourism Fee

This Week

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has delayed the THB 300 tourism fee collection for international visitors from June to September due to implementation issues and tourism operators have asked for more clarity on the same from the government.

As airlines are unable to adopt a selective approach to collect tourism fees between foreign tourists, Thais, and expatriates, the decision to do so has been postponed, said Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association said that this postponed measure should be extended to passengers traveling by sea and land as well. 

He added that the ministry should not rely on airlines, but rather set up a central organization solely responsible for fee collections and the management of foreign tourist arrivals by air, sea, and land.

Mr. Bhummikitti agreed that if the tourism fee is collected and managed in a systematic way, it could help protect and develop tourist destinations and communities, along with covering the medical expenses of tourists in public hospitals. In Phuket alone, unpaid tourist medical bills amount to THB 10 million every year, he said. 

On the other hand, the president of the Thai Hotels Association, Marisa Sukosok Nunbhakdu, said that the delay will be of benefit to tourists to some extent, as other travel costs are also on the rise.

According to Ms. Marisa, the tourism industry is still recovering and has not caught up to pre-covid (2019) numbers. 

She also added that complete transparency in collection and fund management will be paramount to the successful implementation of this scheme.

The scheme was first announced on 15 February, aimed at ensuring health and accident coverage for tourists.

The fee for people traveling into the country by land or sea was decided as THB 150, whereas for those entering the country will be THB 300, as people who travel by land or sea tend to stay for shorter periods of time, said Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

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