Thailand’s government is shelving the 300-baht tourism tax, which was repeatedly postponed by the previous administration, in order to find alternative insurance for international tourists.
In response to a decline in public trust in Thailand’s safety, the Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering different possibilities for providing insurance coverage of 500,000 baht per person in the event of injury and 1 million baht in the event of death in an accident.
During Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin directed the ministry to develop an insurance plan for all tourists, stating that the government wishes to reassure travelers about their safety while visiting Thailand.
Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, Minister of Tourism and Sports, stated that while the government is discontinuing the 300-baht charge scheme to maintain tourism sentiment, the ministry must seek a new plan to protect tourists.
Initially, the ministry proposed utilizing a 50-million-baht budget to compensate tourists on a case-by-case basis, such as for the Siam Paragon mass shooting or the death of a Taiwanese tourist last week who was denied emergency care at a private hospital.
However, because the premier wants to expand coverage to all tourists, she said the ministry will discuss with relevant authorities and the Office of the Insurance Commission on a strategy and budget for this project, which will be far larger than 50 million baht.
The Foreign travelers Assistance Fund was once utilized by the ministry to recompense travelers in the event of an accident, but this fund was closed two years ago, and there is still no permanent method or budget to assist tourists.
Mr Srettha suggested that the Tourism and Sports Ministry consult with the Public Health Ministry before implementing public health measures. “If there is a need to use the central budget, the ministry should urgently propose the plan to the cabinet,” the minister said.
Mr Srettha also requested that the ministry collaborate with the Royal Thai Police to oversee immigration and tourism police, ensuring tourist safety.
The steps follow an instance last week in which a private hospital refused to admit a Taiwanese visitor, resulting in his death.
According to Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, head of the Thai Hotels Association, providing travel insurance to all foreign tourists should boost their confidence in visiting Thailand.
She believes the government should explicitly define the amount of compensation based on the many sorts of illnesses and injuries.