How does Thailand’s 300 baht tourism tax compare to other countries?

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Tourists and locals walk along popular backpacker destination Khao San Road. File photo.

The Thai government recently announced plans to collect a 300 baht fee from each international visitor.

The fee will be collected from April and will be added to the tax when a visitor purchases an airline ticket to Thailand.

The revenue generated from the fee will be used for infrastructure improvements and tourist insurance coverage.

The insurance coverage will be provided in the way of a central fund which will be used in the event a tourist gets sick, has an accident or requires medical treatment in the event they do not have private medical insurance.

A maximum of 500,000 baht will be available for medical expenses, while up to 1 million baht will be available in the form of compensation to the family of the tourist should they die while in Thailand.

The announcement of the fee received criticism from some quarters.

However, Thailand is not alone in implementing a so-called ‘tourism tax’.

In fact, if anything, Thailand is a relative latecomer when it comes to taxing tourists.

Countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United States all charge tourist taxes.

Some countries charge a landing fee, similar to the plans put forward in Thailand, others add tax to hotel bookings.

In Germany, approximately 5 percent is added to hotel bills, although it can vary depending on the city.

In the United States, most states charge an occupancy tax which applies to tourists staying in hotels, motels and inns. The tax can be up to 17 percent of the accommodation bill, depending on the state.

In neighbouring Malaysia, travellers are charged a flat fee of approximately 81 baht per night.

For visitors to the Caribbean, taxes are normally added to hotel bills or charged as a departure fee.

In Antigua, the tax is around 1,600 baht, while in the Bahamas, tourists are charged approximately 487 baht.

In Bhutan, tourists are charged approximately 8,300 baht per day. However the fee also includes accommodation, transportation, food and guides.

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