Whilst postponed for a few months, the proposed 300 baht “tourism fee” is back in the news with the Tourism and Sports Ministry providing more details about how it will be collected and what it will be used for.
Originally planned for implementation at the start of this year, the proposal was shelved because of the onset of the Omicron variants of Covid-19 and a lack of details about how the fee was going to be collected.
Now, the new, compulsory, arrival fee will apply to all foreigners, “without exception” and will provide insurance coverage with a value of 500,000 baht for each person, up to 30 days, during their stay in Thailand. For air passengers, it will be included in their airfare.
Although the Ministry says they are now ready to launch, they are waiting until all land and sea border entries are equipped and ready to collect the payments. The new 300 arrival fee will apply to all foreigners entering via air, land or sea into Thailand.
This time there are no plans for exemptions – ALL foreigners, including expats, work permit or long-term visa holders, and diplomats will be required to pay the 300 fee. The ministerial spokesperson said that, as they were going to collect the fee for air travellers via their airfare, there was no way the systems could easily differentiate between one type of visa or another. So, unless you’re an actual Thai citizen, you will be paying the new entry fee of 300 baht each time you enter the Kingdom.
The insurance coverage will up to a value of 500,000 baht, covering accidents, riots, terrorism, natural disaster or “other incidents.” There would be a 1 million baht payout in the event of death and cremation or funeral expenses up to 150,000 baht.
Health, hospital or Covid expenses won’t be covered under the new compulsory arrival tourism fee (so passengers will still be advised to get general travel or health insurance to cover those eventualities).
With the fee only applying to foreigners, there will be arguments that the fee is just another example of dual-pricing where foreigners have to pay more for the same services as Thais. The Airlines Association of Thailand has already said the fee must be carefully implemented and explained so that foreign governments and travel agents don’t perceive the new fee as a negative factor for travelling to Thailand.
It is expected that the Cabinet will confirm the plan in the next month and will then go into effect 90 days later when it is published in the Royal Gazette.