Thailand’s bonehead idea to introduce a 300 Baht Tourism Entry Levy, originally scheduled to kick in on April 1, 2022 (April Fools anyone?) will be delayed by at least two months over unresolved payment issues.
The measure which was designed by the tourism officials and green-lighted by the government in late 2021 after years of back and forth between various departments calls for a Tourism Development Feee of 300 Baht per arrival, even for people who aren’t tourists.
Thai politicians and officials are still living in their dream bubble of being able to exclusively attract high next worth expats and tourists and they have convinced themselves that all the new fees won’t have any impact on tourism arrivals.
In a previous 2021 interview the Bangkok Post quoted the TAT head honcho as follows:
Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, said the fee collection of 500 baht per person should start next year, with the aim of collecting 5 billion within the first year, assuming 10 million foreign arrivals in 2022. …
“The additional cost won’t have an impact on tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,” said Mr Yuthasak.“
Well good luck to him and the country if that’s what he believes. I think it’s laughable. The bread and butter of the Thai tourism industry is still the common folk staying in 3 & 4-star hotels (and even lower-class accommodations) which make up the bulk of the hospitality sector. Thai tourism can’t survive off what these officials call the “quality tourists”.
The 300 Baht entry levy that was supposed to kick in on April 1st is now running into roadblocks (what a surprise) as they can’t figure out how to collect the fee according to the Bangkok Post.
The collection of a tourism fee from foreign visitors will be delayed by at least two months from the scheduled date of April 1 as payment methods have not yet been concluded.
Tourism operators had bemoaned the collection of the 300-baht fee as untimely, given the industry’s weak recovery from the pandemic.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the National Tourism Policy Committee meeting on Monday supported a tourism fund being set up from the fees collected.
The next step in the process is to propose the policy to the cabinet. On receiving approval, the details of the fee collection must be announced in the Royal Gazette within 90 days.
However, implementation is likely to be delayed beyond April as airlines, which are probably going to be responsible for collecting the charge, asked for at least three months to prepare. The ministry must still finalise collection methods for those entering the country overland.
The fund committee is going to be chaired by the permanent tourism secretary and include representatives from the Budget Bureau, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the private sector and other related state agencies.
Of the 300-baht fee, about 20% has been allotted for insurance coverage for international tourists, with the majority (50%) directed to tourism product development in Thailand. …
The plan which has always been presented as “ready to go” hasn’t even been approved by the cabinet, let alone been gazetted yet. LOL!
I’d be surprised if the fee will gain traction at all in 2022 or in the coming years. Tourism operators aren’t happy about it including prominent business people. Thailand will have an election soon and there are a ton of other issues on the government’s plate including the fluent Covid situation.
Thailand has just registered a new 5 month high of daily infections less than two weeks after the reboot of their (triple) Test&Go program. Perfect conditions for another torpedo into the bow of the tourism industry.
John wrote about the scheduled date of April 1st last month:
And I covered the discussion last year as it progressed:
Initially, they even planned to collect 500 Baht:
I wonder what all the owners and operators of small B&B and lower class hotels in the 2*/3* and even cheap 4* range think about the TAT’s plan to primarily focus on and drive the “premium tourist” market and therefore abandoning their section of the industry. Top shelf tourism doesn’t represent the bulk of the business and you can’t feed all the mouths relying on the industry with a few “quality market” tourists.
Quality, high net worth tourists will definitely love their luxurious accommodations when forced into quarantine after a positive PCR arrival test:
According to Statista ( ) in 2020, employment in the tourism sector accounted for around 11.6 percent of Thailand’s total employment. In that same period, the size of tourism employment in Thailand amounted to approximately 4.37 million.
With the entire country and the tourism industry on its knees, the arrogance of these people is really hard to top by any measure.
Then there is the ever more changing purpose for the money essentially taken out of the people’s pockets without any direct service provided.
Can anyone remember the exact same topic of a mandatory health insurance with 100 THB fee per tourist which came up in May of 2019? Or the same again in May of 2020 for fighting Covid-19? Then last January  they said the 300 Baht fee will also include a laughable 35 Baht insurance premium (US$1) to provide health coverage for the visitor (as if that covered would ever pay out anything).
Meanwhile, tourists are still required to take out their own Covid-Medical insurance in order to be approved for the Thailand Pass.
How about the logistic that currently seems to be the issue?
Paying 300 THB upon arrival sounds easy but it will actually prove to be a logistical nightmare to which anyone who knows Bangkok Airport can attest. Nobody will have Thai Baht in cash upon arrival, there aren’t even ATM’s – only cash exchange counters – and they can’t just tag it onto the ticket as that would impact all travelers, even transits with departures on a separate ticket and most importantly Thai citizens as well as Thai residents who have their own health insurance and aren’t tourists, to begin with.
Collecting cash will take forever. There are barely enough resources and spaces to process regular arrivals by simply stamping their passports. The only way to manage this in a semi-fair way would be to add it automatically to tickets and exempt those that originate from Thailand. But then what about Those who arrive on a one-way ticket from abroad and aren’t tourists? The entire approach doesn’t make any sense.
Why would all arrivals have to pay a tourism development fee including working and residing Expats as well as Thai citizens who just return home? This plan has neither hand nor foot.
The implementation of the logistics necessary to collect the 300 Baht Tourism Entry Fee per arrival has hit a roadblock as officials still haven’t figured out how to actually charge and collect the money. The presumed delay is “at least two months” but considering the cabinet hasn’t even approved it and then there is the required publication in the Royal Gazette I’d be surprised if it gets off the ground at all.
Thailand has tried many times over the years to get this foreigner entry levy on the way as the number of tourists clearly presents an opportunity to simply get a lot of money for nothing in return. Tourists already spend money by the virtue of being tourists, to develop the sector you have to use the proceeds from that commercial activity. It’s simply the cost of doing business. Why should foreigners pay outright to develop the infrastructure of Thailand?
The whole approach of targeting “high-quality tourists” which in their mind probably means wealthy individuals who spend a fortune on their vacation is another trip to fantasy land. Someone who plans to really spend a lot of money goes to the Maldives, Bora Bora or similar luxury destinations, not to Thailand. Thailand always represented “value for money” and that was the allure of traveling there.
The prevailing mindset of Thai officials (and sometimes common folk) that wealthy people from abroad don’t mind being ripped off is mind-boggling and I’m not talking about the $15 fee but the general concept of all this playing together. Instead of eating a humble pie given the current situation, arrogance still reigns supreme in Government House and the TAT HQ.