WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024
nationthailand

Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’

Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has postponed collecting the controversial tourist tax for fear that Thailand’s tourism industry could be affected.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, however, clarified on Thursday that the tourist tax would not be revoked.

“The tourist tax collection would be postponed until the tourism situation is better. Although the fees are not high, we see that they may affect travel plans and the sentiment of many foreign tourists,” the minister said.

She explained that the tourism sector needed more time to recover after the pandemic.

In February, the previous government had approved the ministry’s plan to collect a 300-baht tourism fee from foreigners visiting Thailand by air and a 150-baht fee from visitors by land or sea. However, no specific time frame has been set to start the tourist tax collection.

Tourism and Sports Ministry permanent secretary Arrun Boonchai said the announcement on deferment of tourist tax collection was being finalised to be published in the Royal Gazette, adding that there was no specific time frame for the postponement. He said his ministry would seek a policy decision on the matter from the Cabinet.

Sudawan said the original plan called for part of the tourist tax collected to be spent on health and accident insurance for foreign tourists. With the postponement of the tax collection, she said the ministry would seek a 50-million-baht budget to cover costs in case foreign tourists get injured or fall ill during their stay in Thailand.

Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’
 

Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’

She said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin agreed with the plan to seek a 50-million-baht budget, adding that her ministry would raise the matter at the Cabinet meeting next week.

In May, Yuthasak Supasorn, the previous Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, had said that the new government would decide on the tourist tax as collection methods had not been sorted out.

Yuthasak said operators in the tourism industry had asked for a more flexible time frame when the Tourism and Sports Ministry proposed starting the tax collection in June. He said there were calls for the tourist tax to be postponed until the industry fully recovers, which is expected next year.

During the upcoming festive season from December 22 to January 1, the TAT estimated arrivals of 1.18 million foreign tourists, up 56% from the same period last year, TAT Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said on Thursday. She added that revenue from foreign visitors during the period was estimated at 41.7 billion baht, a 60% increase over last year.

The TAT also expected an increase in Thai tourists during the festive season – 3.75 million tourists/visits, up 10% from last year – generating an estimated revenue of 12.7 billion baht, an 11% gain.

“The New Year’s festival will see combined revenues of 54.4 billion baht from the domestic and foreign markets, a 44% increase from the same period last year,” the TAT governor said.

Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’ Unpopular tourist tax further postponed ‘until industry recovers’

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