Tourism fee of B300 set for Q3
Airlines bristle at new responsibilities
The 300-baht tourism fee is scheduled to begin being collected between August and September this year using the Thailand Tourism Fee (TTF) system implemented by airlines.
Airlines raised concerns about the budget for the system and manpower to handle the process, as they are still struggling with the pandemic impact and weak passenger flows.
"The tourism fee is in line with the revised National Tourism Policy Act of 2008, which granted permission to set up the fund from the fees collected from foreign visitors. The fund will be used to develop tourist sites and offer tourists insurance," said Chote Trachu, permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
He said the fee is meant to help tourists in case of emergency, such as a sudden sickness, accident or political unrest while travelling in Thailand.
Mongkon Wimonrat, assistant tourism permanent secretary, said the TTF system will integrate with airlines' websites to display an additional screen for fee collection for foreign passport holders.
People exempt from the tourism fee collection include diplomats, government officials, people with work permits from nationalities under a memorandum of understanding with Thailand, and children under 2 years old.
Speaking at a meeting with airlines on Thursday, Mr Mongkon said airlines have to help screen tourists who pay the fee before issuing tickets, submitting the final passenger manifest to the data link 15 minutes after flights take off.
The TTF system activates 30-day insurance coverage for tourists once they arrive.
He said local and international airlines are invited to register for the experimental process starting May 2.
Mr Mongkon said the ministry will offer a training programme on the TTF system and perform test runs on the system after the fee collection is published in the Royal Gazette.
Airlines have to prepare software to connect with the TTF system and communicate with tourists to educate them about the new fee, he said.
The fee is imposed on air travellers first, before expansion to other forms of transport in the near future.
One airline representative who requested anonymity said airlines have to focus on the recovery process by boosting frequencies to Thailand, especially after further rules relaxation on May 1.
This new system and fee responsibility will require airlines to use resources to work with the TTF System, said the source.
Each country may also have a different policy regarding the Personal Data Protection Act, creating practical challenges for airlines.
The ministry is urged to provide more clarification on the insurance policy provided, such as the minimum and maximum coverage for tourist injury or fatality, said the source.