Thailand’s 300-baht tourism entry tax is likely to be delayed due to problems with payment channels
Thailand’s fool idea to introduce a 300 baht tourism entrance feewhich was originally scheduled to launch on April 1, 2022 (April fools anyone?) will be delayed by at least two months due to unresolved payment issues.
The measure, drafted by tourism authorities and approved by the government in late 2021 after years of back-and-forth between different departments, envisages a tourism development fee of 300 baht per arrival, including for non-tourists.
Thai politicians and officials are still living in their dream bubble of only being able to attract high-level expats and tourists, and they have made sure that all the new fees will have no impact on tourist arrivals.
In a previous interview from 2021, the Bangkok Post quoted the TAT boss as saying:
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said fee collection of 500 baht per person should start next year. aiming to raise 5 billion within the first year, based on 10 million foreign arrivals in 2022. …
“The additional cost will not affect tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,” said Mr. Yuthasak.“
Well, good luck to him and the country if he believes that. I find it ridiculous. The bread and butter of Thailand’s tourism industry is still the common people staying in 3 and 4 star hotels (and even lower class accommodation), which make up the bulk of the hospitality industry. Thai tourism cannot survive on what these officials call the “quality tourists”.
The 300-baht entry fee, which was due to take effect on April 1, is now hitting 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 planned date of April 1st, as the payment arrangements are not yet finalized.
Tourism companies had said the 300-baht fee was untimely given the industry’s sluggish recovery from the pandemic.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Monday’s meeting of the National Tourism Policy Committee supported the establishment of a tourism fund from collected fees.
The next step in this process is to propose the policy to the cabinet. Upon receipt of approval, the details of the fee collection are to be announced in the Royal Scoreboard within 90 days.
Implementation is expected to be delayed beyond April, however, as the airlines likely to be responsible for collecting the fee have asked for at least three months to prepare. The ministry has yet to determine collection methods for those entering the country by land.
The Fund Committee is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Tourism and includes representatives from the Budget Office, the Office of the National Council for Economic and Social Development, the private sector and other related government agencies.
Of the 300-baht fee, about 20% was allocated for insurance coverage for international tourists, with the bulk (50%) going towards developing tourism products in Thailand. …
The plan, always presented as “complete”, has not even been approved by the cabinet, let alone officially announced. LOL!
I would be surprised if the fee will become even more important in 2022 or in the years to come. Tourism companies are not happy about this, including prominent businessmen. Thailand will soon have elections and there are a slew of other issues on the government plate including the ongoing Covid situation.
Thailand has just registered a new 5-month high in daily infections less than two weeks after restarting its (triple) Test&Go program. Perfect conditions for another torpedo in the bow of the tourism industry.
John wrote about the planned date of April 1st last month:
New Fee of THB 300 for Flight Arrivals on April 1 to Promote Amazing Thailand New Chapter
And I covered the discussion last year in the course:
Thailand’s tourism committee approves a 300-baht tourism fee from every international visitor as the industry collapses
Initially, they even planned to collect 500 baht:
Thailand starts charging 500 baht arrival fee from foreigners to develop tourism beyond 2022
I wonder what all the owners and operators of small B&Bs and lower end hotels in the 2*/3* and even budget 4* range think of TAT’s plan to focus primarily on the ‘premium tourist’ market to concentrate and advance it and therefore to give up their area of the industry. Quality tourism doesn’t make up the bulk of the business, and you can’t feed all the mouths that rely on the industry with a few “quality market” tourists.
High-end, wealthy tourists will definitely love their luxurious accommodations when forced into quarantine after a positive arrival PCR test:
According to stats ( ), employment in the tourism sector accounted for around 11.6 percent of Thailand’s total employment in 2020. During the same period, the number of tourism workers in Thailand was about 4.37 million.
When the whole country and the tourism industry is down, the arrogance of these people is really hard to beat.
Added to this is the ever-changing purpose of the money, which is basically taken out of people’s pockets without any direct service.
Can anyone remember the exact same issue of compulsory health insurance with 100THB fee per tourist coming up in May 2019? Or the same again in May 2020 for the fight against Covid-19? Then last January  They said the 300-baht fee would also include a ridiculous 35-baht (US$1) insurance premium to provide the visitor with health insurance (as if that coverage ever paid anything).
Meanwhile, tourists are still required to obtain their own Covid medical insurance to be eligible for the Thailand Passport.
What about the logistics, which seems to be the problem at the moment?
Paying 300 THB on arrival sounds easy, but it will actually prove to be a logistical nightmare, as anyone who knows Bangkok Airport can attest. Nobody will have Thai baht in cash on arrival, there aren’t even ATMs – only money exchange offices – and they can’t just stick it on the ticket as this would affect all travellers, even transits with departures on a separate ticket and most before mainly Thai citizens as well as Thai residents who have their own health insurance and are not initially tourists.
Collecting cash will take forever. There are barely enough resources and space to handle regular arrivals simply by stamping their passports. The only way to be reasonably fair about this would be to automatically add it to tickets, excluding those originating from Thailand. But then what about those arriving from abroad on a one-way ticket and who are not tourists? The whole approach makes no sense.
Why should all arrivals pay a tourism development fee, including working and resident expats, as well as Thai citizens just returning home? This plan is unfounded.
Implementing the logistics necessary to collect the 300-baht-per-arrival tourism entry fee has encountered an obstacle as officials have still not figured out how to actually calculate and collect the money. The suspected delay is “at least two months” but considering Cabinet hasn’t even approved it and then has the required publication in the Royal Gazette I’d be surprised if it even gets off the ground.
Thailand has attempted to achieve this many times over the years foreigner tax on the way, as the number of tourists clearly offers the chance to just get a lot of money for nothing. Tourists are already spending money because they are tourists, in order to develop the sector you need to use the income from this commercial activity. It’s just the cost of doing business. Why should foreigners pay directly to develop Thailand’s infrastructure?
The whole approach of targeting ‘high profile tourists’, which they see as likely meaning wealthy individuals spending a fortune on their vacation, is another trip to fantasy land. If you really want to spend a lot of money, go to the Maldives, Bora Bora or similar luxury destinations, not Thailand. Thailand has always stood for “value for money” and that was the appeal of going there.
The prevailing mindset of Thai officials (and sometimes common folk) that wealthy foreigners don’t mind being ripped off is intriguing, and I’m not talking about the $15 fee, I’m talking about the general concept that all of this interacts. Instead of eating a humble cake given the current situation, arrogance still reigns in the government building and TAT headquarters.