The Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to start charging a 500-baht fee to all travelers arriving in Thailand starting next year for a “tourism transformation fund.”
Last week, the Center for Economic Situation Administration approved a proposal to create the fund, expecting to subsidize projects that transform the industry and focus on sustainable, high-value tourism.
According to Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, paying 500-baht fees per person should become a mandatory requirement in 2022, allowing the country to raise 5 billion within the first year if 10 million tourists arrive.
The National Tourism Policy Committee originally approved the fund earlier this year, but the proposed fee was 300 baht per person.
However, 200 baht has been added to support projects started by the private sector, social enterprises or community enterprises that want to transform their business following the fund’s strategy.
Also, the sum would be used to drive projects that seek to help the country restructure from mass tourism to a high-value or green bio-economic model and environmentally concerned tourism, the TAT governor explained.
“The projects should be co-creations and the government should use the fund to support projects that can create an economic impact,” Mr. Yuthasak said. He also added that the public-private financial support ratio could be 50:50, 60:40 o 70:30, “depending on how much we want to make those projects happen.”
The tourism transformation fund will also be employed to budget development projects and insurance for foreign visitors, Mr. Yuthasak went on.
If the concept is approved, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand should discuss with relevant authorities the fund committee’s creation. They also have to agree on financing mechanisms and define how the fee will be charged to foreigners.
The committee must also establish criteria to determine which projects are eligible for financial support.
“The additional cost won’t have an impact on tourists as we want to focus on the quality market. We hope this fund will support a national tourism makeover creating more safe and clean places,” Yuthasak stated.