Thailand delays collecting $9 entry fee from foreign air travelers

By Hoang Phong   April 19, 2023 | 10:30 pm PT
Thailand delays collecting $9 entry fee from foreign air travelers
Foreign tourists play with water as they celebrate the Songkran holiday which marks the Thai New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, April 13, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Thailand said it will delay imposing a 300-baht (US$8.72) entry fee on foreign tourists arriving by air to September instead of June, due to problems implementing the levy.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said on Wednesday the fee collection from foreign arrivals by air must be postponed after complaints from airlines about its implementation, according to the Bangkok Post.

The airlines said it was too complicated to discern between foreign visitors who had to pay the fee, and Thai nationals and expatriates who should not, and insisted that all passengers must be treated similarly.

Thai hotel associations said if the collection was postponed for air travelers, it should also be pushed back for arrivals by land and sea.

The Thai government said earlier foreign tourists arriving in Thailand by air will have to pay a fee of 300 baht while those entering the country via water and land transport will be charged 150 baht each.

The money will be used to develop tourist attractions and pay for accident insurance for foreigners unable to afford treatment.

Thailand has long mulled charging foreign visitors an entry fee, but its implementation was delayed by the pandemic.

Some other Southeast Asian destinations also plan to impose entry fees to improve the quality of tourism services.

Hoi An earlier this month announced fees of VND120,000 (about $5) for foreigners and VND80,000 ($3.40) for Vietnamese entering its Old Town starting from June, with the money to be used to improve infrastructure, restore downgraded relics and organize tourism events.

However, the decision has been met with public backlash and the plan is now put on hold.

Indonesia’s Bali is also considering to charge entry fees from foreign tourists by the end of this year.

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