Govt launches new medical coverage scheme for tourists


Foreign tourists will receive medical coverage of up to 500,000 baht in case of accidents in Thailand, and compensation of up to 1 million baht in the event of death under the government’s new campaign to enhance tourists’ confidence while travelling in Thailand.

The campaign, a collaboration between the Tourism and Sports and Public Health ministries, aims to assure foreign tourists that they will be properly taken care of while they are in the kingdom, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said at the launch of the campaign on Wednesday.

Explaining that the campaign’s goal is to strengthen the positive image of Thailand as a global vacation destination, she said the ministry had set aside 50 million baht to fund the scheme. The money will come from the ministry’s budget for emergency expenses and will be used to compensate foreign tourists on a case-by-case basis during their travel in Thailand between January 1 and August 31 this year, she said.

Govt launches new medical coverage scheme for tourists

The maximum coverage is 1 million baht per person in case of death and 300,000 baht per person for permanent organ loss, loss of sight or permanent disability. Medical expenses will be covered at the amount actually paid, but not exceeding 500,000 baht.

Tourists will not be eligible for the coverage if the incidents stem from their carelessness, intention to take part in any illegal activity, or risky behaviour.

To apply for the coverage, foreigners holding a tourist visa can submit documents at the provincial tourism and sports offices, or at tourist assistance centres located in Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Applications can also be submitted via post and e-mail.

Sudawan said the ministry believed that the campaign would help boost revenue from tourism. She added that foreign arrivals as of February 11 totalled 4.3 million, putting the country on track to achieve its target of 35 million foreign tourists in 2024.

Govt launches new medical coverage scheme for tourists

The ministry has set a revenue target of 2024 at 3.5 trillion baht from these 35 million foreign tourists and some 205 million trips made by Thai tourists.

The insurance programme intends to cover the vacuum between the expiry of the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund and the new tourism fee scheme, which is yet to begin.

The fund was dissolved two years ago and a new tourism fee is expected to be collected for tourism insurance and to develop tourist attractions. Under the scheme, foreign arrivals by air will be charged 300 baht while those coming by sea and land will be charged 150 baht. The scheme, however, has been indefinitely postponed.

Sudawan insisted that the ministry does not plan to cancel the 300-baht landing fee, although it will not be implemented in the immediate future, as the tourism market has only just recovered from the impact of Covid-19, and the ministry wants to focus on increasing arrival numbers and tourism spending first.

Govt launches new medical coverage scheme for tourists

The ministry’s deputy permanent secretary Mongkon Wimonrat added that the ministry will use its Thailand Traveller Safety (TTS) platform to facilitate the disbursement of insurance coverage to foreign tourists. The platform offers online registration for non-Thai residents with tourist visas.

Mongkon said the TTS database, which collects data with the consent of providers, can be accessed by the Tourist Police Bureau and National Institute for Emergency Medicine, which will help speed up the disbursement process.

Tourists can claim medical expenses within 15 days of the incident and compensation is expected to be paid 15 days after that, he said.