The tourism and sports minister has verified that the 300-baht tourism fee collection will proceed without delay beyond September.
The ministry intends to request assistance from provincial police to back the tourism police in their efforts to eliminate “zero-dollar tours” and unauthorized tours.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced that the fee will remain.
The collection approach of incorporating it into airfares was met with disapproval from airlines, who argued that it was discriminatory and breached the International Air Transport Association’s Chicago convention, which emphasizes fairness.
Mr. Phiphat mentioned that the ministry is contemplating outsourcing to delegate fee collection for all three entry methods—air, land, and sea—to external organizations via online applications, websites, or kiosks.
A 300-baht fee is imposed on foreign arrivals by air, while 150 baht is required for travelers entering by land or sea.
Mr. Phiphat said that 60-70% of these fees are projected to contribute to a tourism fund, which will be utilized for developing tourist destinations and new infrastructure, such as universally designed public services for increased accessibility, restrooms, and skywalks.
With the growing concern over zero-dollar tours, Phiphat stated that the ministry will request backing from provincial police, who have more than 200,000 officers across the country, to assist 2,000 tourist police officers in combating these illicit enterprises.
Tourism operators also express apprehension about the increasing number of foreign tour guides, partly due to a labor shortage in Thailand.
Mr. Phiphat claimed that the current number of Thai tour guides is adequate.
The Tourism Department is developing a training program and extending licenses for existing tour guides, he added.
In February, Phiphat discussed the issue of illegal tours with China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, intending to collaborate on guaranteeing tourist safety, high-quality tour services, and meaningful tourist experiences.
Phiphat mentioned that the emergence of new Covid-19 variants would not impact the goal of hosting 25 million visitors this year, as Thailand is well-equipped with vaccines and medication for both Thai citizens and foreign tourists.
The minister stated that the ministry aims to attract 80 million international tourists to Thailand by 2027, contributing 25% to the GDP.
A key selling point, according to Phiphat, will be the prestige of natural attractions, such as Koh Kradan in Trang province, which was designated as the best beach globally this year by the World Beach Guide website.
Four other Thai beaches ranked within the top 100.
Phiphat emphasized that these destinations must implement capacity controls and enforce strict waste and water management measures to conserve natural resources.
Authorities reported that Koh Kradan has seen both overnight and day-trip tourists totaling 300 per day, with 2,000 visitors daily during the recent Songkran holiday.