Foreign tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport after the country reopened to vaccinated arrivals on November 1, 2021. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The new tourist fee of 300 baht due to come into force in April is drawing mixed reactions from tourism operators, with the recovery remaining slow.
The Thai Hotel Association said that although the fee amount is low, it would have a psychological impact on tourists, especially those who travel in groups as well as cross-border travelers who frequently visit the country.
They added that now is not the time as the country will lose out in intense competition.
The Association of Thai Travel Agents said the new fees would worsen traveler confidence following the indefinite suspension of the Test & Go program and the country’s ongoing battle with Covid-19.
They said a more appropriate time to apply the fees would be when Thai tourism returns to 2019 levels, after Chinese tourists start to return and global travel resumes properly.
The Tourism Board of Thailand has approved plans to use tourist fees to develop the travel industry. However, the board would like more clarity regarding the funding mechanism.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant prompted the government to delay collecting fees until April, pushed back from the original launch date of this month.
The new entrance fees will be collected from foreigners entering Thailand by air, land and sea.
The royalties will be used to rebuild and develop tourism supply chains as well as provide safety and security for tourists. The royalty also sponsors an insurance program for tourists in the event of an accident.
The fee is added to the price of air tickets for visitors entering by air.
For land transport, tourists will be encouraged to pay the fee via an app before crossing the border.
Foreign workers who must cross borders daily will be exempt from this policy.
Learn by listening
Click play to listen to the audio of this story, or download to save the file