Foreign Visitor Tourism Fee May Be Postponed Beyond April

The government has decided to delay a plan to charge foreign travelers a tourist fee for at least two months from its scheduled date as payment methods have not been defined.

Recently, authorities announced that a 300-baht fee would be charged to international visitors from April 1. However, tour operators said the move was untimely due to the industry’s fragile recovery from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

Airlines also requested at least three months to prepare for its implementation, and the ministry must conclude collection methods for people who want to enter Thailand by land. Therefore, it could be delayed beyond April.

According to Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the National Tourism Policy Committee’s Monday meeting agreed to make a tourism fund from the fees collected.

The fund’s creation must be proposed to the cabinet. If approved, the fee collection’s details should be unveiled in the Royal Gazette within 90 days.

The permanent tourism secretary chairs the fund committee, whose members are the representatives from the Budget Bureau, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the private sector, and other related state agencies.

Around 20% of the funds raised from the 300-baht fees will be allocated to insurance coverage for international tourists, while 50% will be directed to Thai tourism products’ development.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the kingdom’s tourism offer in terms of products and services still needs to be developed to increase its value from local goods and festivals that can generate income more equitably.

The TAT, the Creative Economy Agency (CEA), and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding to support the creative industry. It focuses on festivals and tourist areas with the potential to be promoted as soft power and local creative economy.

Mr. Yuthasak said that the cooperation’s goal is to increase tourism revenue by 20% through music, film, festivals, fashion, fights (traditional boxing), museums, teachers, food, and the metaverse.

According to the CEA’s chief executive Apisit Laistrooglai, the Thai creative industry’s value is expected to grow by 3.57% this year, reaching 1.5 billion baht.