B300 entry fee scheduled for June start

B300 entry fee scheduled for June start

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is preparing to collect a 300-baht tourism fee from all foreign passport holders visiting Thailand by June, while expatriates can ask for a refund at a later date.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the proposal, which was postponed several times last year, will be resubmitted to the National Tourism Policy Committee on Jan 24.

If approved, the ministry plans to forward this item for cabinet approval in February, with collection slated to begin within 90 days after being published in the Royal Gazette, which the ministry hopes is June 1.

He said all ports of entry -- air, sea and land -- will collect the same rate of 300 baht from foreigners using a passport as identification.

Mr Phiphat said an exemption will apply to border pass holders and expatriates who have work permits, as well as passengers on cruises and people visiting on day trips without an overnight stay.

Expatriates must pay the fee upon arrival, but will be eligible for a refund later because the system cannot distinguish between passport holders with work permits and tourists.

For business visitors, they must pay the fee and are not eligible for a refund as they do not pay personal income tax to the government, unlike expatriates, he said.

The funds collected are expected to be used for tourism development, safety development and insurance for international visitors.

Mr Phiphat said Thailand was fourth globally in foreign tourism revenue in 2019, but the nation had a very high rate of accidents and deaths involving foreigners compared with other countries.

Speaking at a meeting called "Being a good host" in front of 200 participants from the public and private sectors yesterday, he said the sector needs to prepare for a higher flow of visitors, as the arrivals target this year has been upgraded from 20 million to 25 million.

Combined with domestic travellers, tourism receipts this year could reach 2.38 trillion baht. Tourism receipts are projected to surpass the 2019 level in 2027, when 80 million foreign tourists are estimated to generate 5 trillion baht, said Mr Phiphat.

He said the supply side in Thailand has not yet recovered from the pandemic crisis, particularly small businesses, so the number of Chinese tourists this year is unlikely to reach the peak monthly tally of 1 million recorded in 2019.

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