Thailand is finally reopening for tourism after two years of consecutive border closures and complex entry restrictions. Even though it is slowly coming out of its shell and allowing more foreigners to visit again, the entry process for Thailand is bound to undergo some permanent changes, as the country intends to start charging an entry fee from August.
Similarly to the Italian hotspot of Venice, which will begin taxing visitors from summer 2022, Thai authorities proposed their own ‘tourist tax’ back in January, in hopes the system would have come into force by April. Due to delays, this never materialized, though it is now likely the fee will be applied from the third quarter of the year.
While there are still some unanswered questions, as the measure is yet to be implemented, and it is far from being unanimous, here is everything we do know so far about Thailand’s proposed new entry fee.
In announcing the measure in January 2022, the Thai government established a 300 baht fee (or $12) for visitors. According to senior officials, the fee will ‘help develop attractions’ and cover insurance costs for foreigners unable to pay for health emergencies when traveling in the country.
Out of the sum, 250 baht will be converted into funds to help Thailand develop its own tourism attractions, and the remaining 50 baht will be used to cover any medical costs for foreign visitors. At present, tourists are already required to present a valid insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $10,000 when arriving in Thailand.
Considering only $1.45 will be converted into insurance cover, and that this small amount is hardly enough to offer comprehensive health coverage, local media have suggested it will ‘only be for specified misfortunes, such as death’. At present, the government is yet to detail how exactly the $1.45 health fee will correlate with the existing insurance requirement.
As for the fee itself, tourists will have to handle their own payments separately, though it will become part of the booking process for flights to Thailand. Explaining this, senior government official Mongkon Wimonrat revealed the fee will be collected via a dedicated webpage, ‘which airlines will be required to adopt’.
According to Wimonrat, the ‘Thailand Tourism Fee system’ will be integrated into the websites of carriers serving Thailand. Once buying their tickets, travelers will then be directed to an additional screen where they will be able to pay the fee, which is set to become mandatory ‘from August or September’.
300 baht will hardly break the bank, but printing out a payment receipt and carrying proof the fee was paid will add to a growing list of travel documents visitors must hold ahead of flying to Thailand. After all, simply having an ordinary passport is no longer the only requirement for boarding flights to this Asian destination.
Initially, the fee will only apply to air arrivals, seeing that Thai authorities are yet to define how other land and sea arrivals will be charged without leading to long waiting lines at entry points. There will, of course, be exceptions: even when flying to Thailand, work permit holders, other expats living in the country and infants will not be charged an entry fee.
Source: Travel Off Path