The Tourism and Sports Ministry is preparing to collect 500 baht from inbound tourists in order to potentially fund a “tourism transformation fund”. The aim of this fund would be to help develop tourism destinations and ensure tourists had additional insurance benefits
Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, said the fee collection of 500 baht per person should start next year, targeting an inflow 5 billion within the first year, based on 10 million foreign arrivals in 2022. The fee was first approved as a 300 Baht fee by the National Tourism Policy Committee earlier this year, however it appears the fee has now increased by 200 Baht to 500 Baht.
The Bangkok Post reported that the additional 200 baht will be earmarked for: projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises, or social enterprises that would like to transform their business to meet the fund’s strategy; helping the country restructure from mass tourism to high-value or a bio-, circular and green economic model; and environmentally concerned tourism.
Mr Yuthasak went on to say, ”The projects should be co-creations and the government should use the fund to support projects that can create an economic impact. The proportion of public-private financial support could be 50:50, 60:40 or 70:30, depending on how much we want to make those projects happen,”
The fund is aimed to follow a co-development model, with private sector injections being matched with government funds. The Ministry is still to decide how to collect the fee and also to form a committee overseeing the disbursement of funds.
Mr Yuthasak believe that this new fee will not act as a disincentive to travelling to Thailand as “The additional cost won’t have an impact on tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,”. This further confirms the government’s new vision of “high quality tourists” for Thailand.
He said the fund’s objective is not to tackle the financial impact of the pandemic, but rather focus on long-term local economic growth.