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Thailand Scraps Tourism Fee Plan

11 June 2024 17:07 WIB

Tourists visit Maya bay after Thailand reopened its world-famous beach after closing it for more than three years to allow its ecosystem to recover from the impact of overtourism, at Krabi province, Thailand, January 3, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe government of Thailand has scrapped a proposal to charge foreign tourists arriving by air a tourism fee of THB300 or about Rp133,000. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the cancellation on Saturday, June 8.

The tourism fee was first proposed in February 2023 in a bid to boost revenue for tourism development. It was initially planned to be implemented starting June 2023. However, the private sector rejected the plan and it was then suspended.

The issue of the tourist levy resurfaced last April after Thailand's main tourist destinations, Phuket and Pattaya, grappled with overtourism. The funds from this levy were planned to be used to build infrastructure in other areas so that tourists would not be concentrated in the two famous areas.

Srettha opined that the tourist fee would indeed bring in large revenues, but only in the short term. In a broader perspective, he said that if more tourists were allowed in without these fees, they would be more likely to spend money on shopping and other activities.

Any decisions must consider all stakeholders, he stressed. If the government could generate additional income from other tax sources, he added, it would be possible to allocate funds to support tourism as needed.

Thailand’s tourism rating drops

Thailand has seen a decline in its ranking in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Tourism and Travel Development Index. This year, the country ranked 47th out of 119 countries, down six places from 2019.

Srettha said he would not play a blame game, but rather be constructive. The current government aims to continue development in all aspects, he said, stressing that the tourism sector is fundamental to generating huge revenue for the country.

Thailand also targeted 40 million foreign tourist visits this year, the same as the pre-pandemic figure recorded in 2019. They also projected revenues of 3 trillion baht, or about Rp1,322 trillion, from domestic and foreign tourists.

VN EXPRESS | THE STRAITS TIMES 

Editor's Choice: Thailand Introduces Visa for Digital Nomads with Stay Up to 5 Years

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