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Thailand Readies for Bt300 Tourist Fee, As Chinese Tourists Return

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Thailand to Introduce Bt300 Tourist Fee

According to Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, authorities intend to begin collecting a 300-baht fee from foreign tourists arriving in the country in June 2023.

According to him, the funds raised will be used to assist visitors involved in accidents and to develop tourist destinations.

“Fees will not be collected from foreigners with work permits and border passes,” Mr Phiphat said, adding that the country anticipates approximately 25 million tourist arrivals this year, up from 11.8 million last year.

The tourist fee proposal was first considered last year and is subject to cabinet approval.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism was a critical sector in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, accounting for approximately 12% of gross domestic product.

According to Mr Phiphat, tourism spending will reach at least 2.38 trillion baht this year.

The country welcomed a record 40 million visitors in 2019, including more than 11 million Chinese.

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Thailand’s Welcomes Chinese Tourists

According to local airport authorities, both Chiang Mai and Phuket are expecting a significant increase in air travel on direct flights from China beginning January 18. There will be one direct flight per day from China to Chiang Mai and three daily flights to Phuket, with nonstop air links between the two countries continuing to grow.

According to Wichit Kaeosaithiam, the director of Chiang Mai airport, a flight between Shanghai and Chiang Mai will begin on January 18, with another from Guangzhou to Chiang Mai to begin two days later.

After China reopened its borders and lifted quarantine restrictions over the weekend, an increase in traffic was expected.

One flight from Beijing to Chiang Mai, another from Chengdu to Chiang Mai, and two more from Shanghai to the same northern Thai city are currently awaiting approval, he said.

Chiang Mai airport currently receives direct flights from 11 foreign cities and countries, including South Korea’s Incheon and Busan, Singapore, Taiwan’s Taipei, Laos’ Luang Prabang, Vietnam’s Danang, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, and Myanmar’s Yangon, he said.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, Chiang Mai airport received flights from China on 19 routes, bringing in between 4,000 and 5,000 passengers per day, or 1.78 million people per year, he said.

With a capacity of up to 30,000 passengers per day, he said the airport now handles between 24,000 and 26,000 international and domestic passengers per day.

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According to him, the airport can handle more passengers if some international flights that currently fly to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport are diverted to Chiang Mai airport.

According to Thanet Tantiphiriyakit, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, tourism businesses in many countries are eager to welcome back Chinese visitors.

For Chinese tourists, Phuket is the most popular destination in Thailand.

On January 18, three direct flights from China are scheduled to arrive in Phuket, including two from Shanghai and one from Nanjing, he said, adding that they will bring in a total of 500 passengers per day.

Mr Thanet stated that two more direct flights from China are awaiting permission to fly to the resort island province.

Another three are scheduled to begin operations on January 24, bringing the total number of direct flights between China and Phuket to eight.

He stated that Phuket is prepared to contain the spread of the coronavirus if new waves emerge.

He advises hospitality workers who come into close contact with tourists to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Public Health, expressed confidence that the ministry’s U-turn on new Covid-19 restrictions for international arrivals would not confuse tourists.

After a backlash from tourism business associations, the ministry recently announced that proof of double vaccination would be required for entry. Bangkok’s nightlife venues are expected to benefit from a large influx of Chinese tourists in the third and fourth quarters.

 

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