The Thai government plans to introduce a 300-baht (about US$ 8.7) landing tax for foreign tourists arriving by air, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand's minister of tourism and sports.
In 2022, Thailand welcomed more than 11 million visitors. This year the authorities expect more than double - 25 million visitors - thanks to the reopening of China, Thailand’s main market.
The new tourism tax is expected to come into effect on or about June 1, 90 days after publication in the Royal Gazette and the aim is to collect more tourism revenue.
The "Kha Yeap Pan Din" (tax for entering Thailand), the fee for foreign tourists, will be reduced by half for those who arrive by land or sea because people in this group usually stay only a few days, the authorities suggested.
Foreign tourists entering the country on a border pass, day-trippers or those with work permits will be exempt.
When the tax was proposed last year, the minister said the money earned would be used to buy insurance for foreigners and the rest would be added to the tourism development fund. This fund will be used to finance the construction of entrances for the disabled and toilets at tourist attractions.
He said that medical expenses incurred by foreigners in government hospitals from 2017 to 2019 cost the government up to 400 million baht (about US$ 11.6 million). If the ministry collects this tax to cover the insurance, then it will not need to seek a separate budget.
This decision has been widely criticized by many experts in Thailand and abroad.