Thailand finalizes legal loopholes in assisting foreign tourists

By VNA   October 5, 2023 | 06:10 pm PT
Thailand finalizes legal loopholes in assisting foreign tourists
Chinese tourists pose on a beach in Thailand. Photo by Reuters
Thai authorities are considering accomplishing regulatory loopholes in supporting foreign tourists affected by incidents in Thailand, especially after the shooting at Siam Paragon Shopping Center on Tuesday which killed two people and injuring five.

In the past, the families of all foreign tourists were eligible for compensation of around 1 million THB (US$27,000) in the event of death from the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund.

However, that fund was dissolved last year as it was said to be ineffective and there is no permanent funding source to compensate tourists in case of injury or death.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry said it plans to compensate tourists killed or injured during the shooting, using either the ministry's fiscal budget or the central budget.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol suggested the government implement 300-baht tourism fee scheme which was approved by the previous cabinet and use part of fee collected from this scheme to fund insurance for tourists.

The ministry is finalizing the collection method, requiring tourists to pay the fee before arrival via a website, mobile app, or kiosk at airports and land border checkpoints, she said, adding that the method was modified from a previous plan that asked airlines to include the fee in airfares.

The shooting at Siam Paragon also raises the need for security assurance and response to emergency situations at shopping and entertainment centers, which are popular tourist attractions in Thailand.

Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive of Siam Piwat Group, the owner and operator of Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery, said the group prepared measures to deal with shootings more than three years in advance, following similar incidents in other countries.

According to her, the group has measures in place to instruct stores on how to handle and manage customers in such situations.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, chief marketing officer of Central Pattana Plc, said Central malls nationwide have instituted a comprehensive set of security measures to guarantee the safety of all visitors.

These measures include security checkpoints at mall entrances where all bags and luggage are thoroughly checked by staff before entering, with a highly trained security team stationed throughout the premises, he added.

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