TAT enlists companies to provide insurance for tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has signed a memorandum of understanding with three leading insurance companies to provide an insurance policy, Thai Travel Shield, for foreign tourists.
The insurance plan, an online insurance package, provides coverage of up to 2 million baht with premiums starting from 400 baht per trip, up to seven days.
The insurers joining the scheme are Muang Thai Insurance, Krungthai Panich Insurance and South East Insurance.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the travel insurance service aims to boost foreign tourists' confidence in safety.
"We have a long-established partnership with Muang Thai Insurance and Krungthai Panich Insurance, since July 2014," Mr Yuthasak said. "This year we have the opportunity to work with a new partner, South East Insurance."
This year, Thailand Travel Shield is aimed at servicing 10 million free independent travellers (FITs). The goal is 1% penetration in the market, providing as many as 100,000 insurance policies to FITs.
According to Keerati Phanitchiva, chief executive of Krungthai Panich Insurance, about one-third of the 10 million FITs coming to Thailand this year will be Chinese tourists, while the rest will be tourists from other destinations, including Europeans who already have travel insurance from their own countries but may want more coverage.
Tourists can buy the insurance plan online before travelling to Thailand and use Mastercard, Visa, Union Pay or Alipay for premium payment, Mr Keerati said.
Once they go through the immigration process, the insurance will be active 24/7 and tourists can contact a call centre with staff who are able to speak 40 languages to assist in the event of accidents, sickness, flight cancellations, lost luggage or even death until they leave Thailand.
According to Mr Yuthasak, the insurance plan is vital and he hopes it can raise confidence among international tourists.
Despite being one of the world's most famous tourism destinations, Thailand is notorious for accidents with high death tolls. Last year, a capsized boat off Phuket claimed the lives of 47 Chinese tourists, the worst-ever sea accident for the country.
The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 by the World Health Organization reports a high accident death rate of 32.7 for every 100,000 Thais.