Thailand will impose an entry fee on foreign holidaymakers from June as the tourism-reliant nation presses ahead with the long-delayed levy following a better-than-expected recovery in tourist arrivals.
Travelers flying into Thailand will need to pay 300 baht (US$8.75) for each trip; those entering the Southeast Asian nation through its land borders and sea ports will be levied 150 baht (US$4.37) each, Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told reporters after the cabinet approved the charges Tuesday.
The fees will come into effect in June, Ratchakitprakarn said, and will see the government collect about 3.9 billion baht in fees this year alone.
Part of that will be used to provide health and accidental insurance cover for the tourists during their stay in the country, Phiphat said.
The entry fee, widely criticized by local tourism industry, comes as the nation famed for its Buddhist temples, beaches and national parks is witnessing a rush in tourist arrivals that’s gained momentum with the abolition of pandemic-era curbs and China’s move to end it Zero-Covid policy.
Foreign tourist arrivals may reach as high as 30 million this year, almost tripling from 11.2 million last year, according to some estimates.
Thailand has long mooted an entry fee for foreign travelers but its implementation was delayed by the pandemic.
A part of the fee will help fund the development of local tourist attractions, Phiphat said. The levy will be added to air ticket prices, while the method of collections from entry by land has yet to be determined, the government said last year.
Wuthichai Luangamornlert, managing director of Siam Park City, operator of an amusement park in Bangkok, welcomed the move but added that “the collection of the fees and strict control of its use must be ensured to avoid any problems that may arise in the future.”