Thailand will collect a tourist tax of 300 Baht from all international visitors entering the country from January.
Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the 300 baht fee will go towards the creation of a tourism fund that will help the tourism industry deal with other unforeseen problems or hardships in the future.
Phiphat said that if Thailand could attract 20 million tourists by 2022, around 6.2 billion baht could be generated for the fund.
The proposal to introduce a tourist allowance was first floated in 2019 and then formally approved by the National Tourism Policy Committee in January this year.
The idea behind the fee was that all the money generated would be used for the management of tourist attractions and to cover the medical bills of uninsured tourists.
In 2019, a report by Nikkei Asia stated that unpaid medical bills in Thai hospitals from tourists cost the state 448 million baht.
Last year, Thai media suggested that 34 baht would go to insurance, while the rest would be used for the maintenance and development of tourist sites.
Phiphat also spoke of plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists from July 1. He said infections must be reduced to nil before the country can implement its ‘Sandbox’ model.
Initially, Thailand had hoped to reopen Phuket to vaccinate foreign tourists, who could stay on the island without going into quarantine.
Phiphat said there was still a chance that the ‘Sandbox model’ could continue, but there should be no Covid19 infections on the island and at least 70% of the island’s population should be vaccinated.
In the event that the number of vaccines reaches its target, but cases are still found on the island, the tourism ministry should seek further guidance from health officials on whether the island can reopen.