Thailand to drop unpopular THB300 tourism fee policy, PM confirms

SUNDAY, JUNE 09, 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Saturday that his government would scrap the proposal by the previous administration to charge a 300 baht tourism fee from foreign tourists entering Thailand by air. 

Srettha said his government was not considering implementation of the policy proposed in February last year, which had encountered opposition from the private sector.

The PM said on Saturday that while collecting a fee of 300 baht per person could generate short-term revenue, a broader perspective suggests that if more tourists are allowed to enter without this fee, they would likely spend on shopping and other activities, which could stimulate the economy and potentially generate more revenue for the government than the fee itself.

Srettha said that any decisions must take into account the voices of all stakeholders. He added that if the government could generate additional revenue from other tax sources, it would be possible to allocate funds to support tourism as needed.

When asked about Thailand’s ranking falling to 47th out of 119 countries in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) tourism and travel development index, dropping six places from the 2019, Srettha said that he wanted to be constructive instead of playing the blame game. 

“This government aims to continuously develop every aspect. And we should respect the previous government because all governments agree that tourism is a significant flagship that can generate substantial revenue for the country,” he said. 

“Various polls have recognised many cities and islands in Thailand as world-class tourist destinations. We should focus on encouraging reasonable voices that can lead to further development, rather than listening to certain discouraging opinions."

Srettha also spoke about progress in discussions with technology giant Apple for collaboration on the Startup Center at the Science and Technology Park of Chiang Mai University. He said that they were prepared to finalise the initial deal, with the location already secured. Discussions with the president of Chiang Mai University have acknowledged the potential of this collaboration. Srettha said he was eager to extend this cooperation to include an Apple Developer Academy in Thailand and mentioned that the team was arranging a visit by Apple's executives to finalise the deal by the end of 2025.