The fate of the THB 300 tourism fee scheme, which was proposed in July 2022, currently lies in the hands of the incumbent government, who is expected to iron out the details about its implementation.
The scheme which proposes to collect THB 300 for visitors by air and THB 150 for visitors by land or sea was approved by the cabinet in February this year, but has not been published in the Royal Gazette, which indicates that there has been no decision to execute it within a specific time frame.
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the scheme’s progress solely depends on the new government. Civil servants do not have the authority to initiate the fee collection procedures, without it being greenlit by the government.
Yuthasak said that the tourism fee collection scheme should be postponed until 2024, when the Thai tourism industry has fully recovered. The private sector has also raised concerns over the scheme, asking for a more flexible time frame after the Tourism and Sports Ministry proposed the scheme to start in June but was postponed until September.
The proposed measures called for embedding the tourism fee into airfare, but airlines quickly declined as it was not a viable option, causing the ministry to be hamstrung in trying to find a possible solution.
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association suggested setting up a central organization solely responsible for fee collections and the management of foreign tourist arrivals as it could be applied to tourists entering by air, sea, and land.
However, President of the Thai Hotels Association, Marisa Sukosok Nunbhakdu said that although most hoteliers are in support of the scheme, they believe it should not start within the year.
“We want to reiterate our message to the new government that the timeline of this project should be revised,” she added, highlighting the fact that even as Thailand sees a boost in tourism, it has not reached its pre Covid-19 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 proposed in July in 2022, and was later approved by the cabinet on 15 February 2023. The Thai government expects to collect around THB 3.9 Billion in fees from this scheme, with part of it used to help provide tourists with health and accident insurance coverage and maintaining local tourist attractions.