Tourists will skip Thailand if they have to pay extra 500-baht entry fee, warns ATTA chief


The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) is calling on the government to drop its plans of imposing a new fee on foreigners entering Thailand at least until the travel industry fully recovers.

On October 2, the Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to charge each foreigner a 500 baht entry fee from January 1.

“Collecting an additional fee will only increase the travel budget of international visitors, which could ultimately force them to skip visiting Thailand altogether,” ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said on Friday. “The tourism industry is still recovering from the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns, and we need to attract as many foreign tourists as possible after the country fully reopens.”

Sisdivachr added that many other countries were also ramping up their own recovery plans by loosening entry restrictions for inbound travellers.

“With increasing competition in the international tourism market, it is not the best time for Thailand to impose an additional fee on visitors,” he said.

“The government should also clarify the objectives and mechanisms of the fund management, including who will benefit from the fund and what types of tourism project developments are the main targets for the financial aid,” he said.

“Most importantly, private sector representatives should be allowed to help manage the fund as well as monitor its disbursement to ensure the fullest transparency before we consider when the new fee should be imposed.”

Funds collected from tourists will reportedly be used to establish the Tourism Transformation Fund to promote the tourism industry in the post-Covid era.