Tourists will soon be paying for Thailand’s “new chapter” in return for a little death and dismemberment coverage.
After years of failed proposals to bill travelers insurance and maintenance fees, a tourist tax finally won approval in these pandemic times. That means, starting in April, travelers from abroad will pay a THB300 (US$9) entry fee, prime minister spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said today.
The fee will help fund the tourism authority’s new, wonderfully titled promotion Amazing Thailand New Chapter. The money will be used to develop tourist attractions as well as provide accident and death insurance for all arriving foreigners.
Those coming by air will hardly notice, as the price will be added to their air fare. The ministry said it was still figuring out how land travelers will be charged.
The insurance coverage will pay out up to THB1 million (US$30,000) in case of death and THB500,000 for medical expenses.
The government will go ahead with its tourism promotion plans despite the current fourth-wave surge of infections driven by the Omicron variant, Thanakorn said.
Today’s new reported cases added up to 7,681. Another 12 deaths were logged. More of an issue are the diminishing number of hospital beds. More than 66,200 patients are currently hospitalized, more than double the number less than two weeks ago on Jan. 1.
Although Omicron infections have spread rapidly, it is proving less severe than the Delta variant, Thanakorn said.
“The prime minister has ordered all agencies to monitor and assess the situation within the country and to closely study foreign cases in order to continue the restoration of economic and public health in the Thai tourism industry,” he said, very reassuringly.