Insurance to be compulsory for travellers to Thailand

Foreign travellers queue at immigration on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport. Under a proposal by the Tourism and Sports Ministry they will be required to show evidence of travel insurance, together with their passports. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

All foreign tourists will soon be required to have travel insurance before entering Thailand under a proposal put forward by a committee of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, according to an informed source.

The plan has been proposed by a committee working on the development of Thailand as a wellness tourism hub, and will be forwarded for consideration by the national tourism policy commission.

The requirement should not be seen as a "hurdle" to visitors to Thailand, the source said on Monday.

Under the proposal, the Office of the Insurance Commission would draft details on insurance policies and insurance distribution channels, including the installation of automatic vending machines at international airports and border checkpoints.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry first proposed requiring foreign visitors to have travel insurance last year, explaining it did not have enough staff to supervise the safety and welfare of the growing number of tourists.

Hospitals have until now often been left carrying the cost of medical treatment of tourists injured during their stay in Thailand and who have no means to pay their bills.

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