The Thai government will push ahead with plans to collect a 300 baht tourism fee from all international arrivals, it was announced on Wednesday (Jan 12).
The collection of the 300 baht fee from every international tourist will begin in April, government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.
The fee will be used to transform Thailand’s tourism model into one which is more sustainable.
“The fund will be used to maintain Thailand’s tourism destinations to focus on long-term local economic growth,” Mr Thanakorn said.
The fund will also help to develop tourist attractions, as well as help to establish an accident and death insurance fund for all tourists. The maximum payout in the event of a death would be limited to 1 million baht and 500,000 baht for medical expenses.
The 300 baht fee would included as part of a visitor’s air fare.
Officials said they are still deciding on how to collect the fee from people who arrive in Thailand by land.
According to Mr Thanakorn said Thailand expects to welcome between 5 million and 15 million foreign tourists in 2022. The implementation of the 300 baht fee would generate an additional 1.3 to 1.8 trillion baht from tourists this year alone.
The so-called ‘tourist tax’ was first proposed in 2020.
Critics say the fee would potentially put people off from visiting Thailand in favour of other destinations.
However, those in favour say such a fee is good way to generate additional income for the Thai economy and help to make its tourism industry more sustainable.
Thailand is not alone in taxing international tourists.
Many countries around the world, including Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Bali in Indonesia, as well as most Caribbean islands, have implemented some form of tourist tax.
Some countries include it as part of an air fare, others such as France and Germany, add it to the hotel bill.
Several states in the US, such as California and Texas have an ‘occupancy tax’, which is added to the bill at hotels, motels, inns, and other, similar accommodation.
The money from the tax goes to protecting natural resources and maintaining tourism facilities.
The tax is becoming more popular as a tool to battle the growing issue of over-tourism.