Thai govt postpones tourism tax due to airlines’ complaints

The Thai government has announced the postponement of the planned 300-baht (US$9) tourism tax from June to September due to complaints from airlines.
The fee was proposed to help the Thai tourism sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, with a 150 baht sum for overland visitors and a 300-baht fee for airline passengers. However, airlines raised concerns about the implementation of the fee, as it would be difficult to differentiate between foreign visitors who needed to pay and Thai nationals or foreign residents who did not.
As a result, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced a three-month delay to the program, reported Taiwan News.
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, suggested that if the collection of fees for air travellers is postponed, it should also be delayed for arrivals by land and sea to maintain consistency. He further recommended that instead of relying on airlines, there should be a centralized organization responsible for fee collection and management for arrivals by air, sea, and land.
Under the table supports the concept of a tourism fee that is collected and managed systematically to aid the development of tourism destinations and communities, as well as to cover the medical expenses of tourists in public hospitals. Bhummikitti said…
“Unpaid medical bills of tourists in Phuket amount to more than 10 million baht a year.”
The introduction of the tourism fee is likely to affect visitors from Malaysia who make weekend trips to the Kingdom of Thailand each month. Hotel operators demanded transparency in the spending of the fees and preferred a central authority in charge.
Around 60% to 70% of the revenue from the tax will go to a tourism fund, with 17% used for medical insurance covering tourists, according to Phiphat.

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