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Thai Government Proposes Compulsory Travel Insurance for Foreigners



BANGKOK – All foreign tourists may soon be required to have compulsory travel insurance before entering Thailand under a proposal put forward by a committee of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, according to Jaturon Phakdeewanit, director of the Tourism Safety and Security Standards

According to Jaturon, visitors without travel insurance have cost Thailand at least 3 billion baht ($A117 million) a year for their medical treatments at state hospitals.

“We need to push this through as soon as possible because the problem is becoming more serious,” he said.

Hospitals have until now often been left carrying the cost of medical treatment of tourists injured during their stay in Thailand and who have no means to pay their bills.

Government officials will be discussing compulsory travel insurance with tourism operators about the best approach to implement the new rule, before submitting the proposal to the cabinet for approval, Jaturon said.

Compulsory travel insurance documents will likely be inspected at immigration counters upon arrival, as many visitors do not need visa to enter the country, he added.

Tourism is a major industry in Thailand, with more than 14 million people visiting the country since January 1, generating $US20.5 billion ($A27.4 billion) dollars in revenue.