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Compulsory Travel Insurance Soon a Reality in Thailand

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) has revealed that Tourists visiting Thailand will be required to pay Bt20 for the compulsory travel insurance at immigration offices at all points of entry into Thailand.

Secretary-General Dr. Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn said tourists will be required to pay for the compulsory travel insurance at immigration offices in airports, while the premium will be directed to Thailand’s Tourism Promotion Fund for coverage of payments in the event of claims.

The compulsory travel insurance will cost Bt20 and offer up to 1 million baht of coverage in cases of death, with a maximum duration of 30 days.

Dr. Suthiphon told the Bangkok Post that the proposed tourist insurance will have to be approval by the Tourism and Sports Ministry before being forwarded to the cabinet for approval.

The Compulsory travel insurance coverage is intended to bolster the confidence of foreign tourists when visiting Thailand.

Compulsory travel insurance for inbound tourists was raised after foreign tourists failed to pay a combined Bt300 million in medical bills after receiving treatment in state hospitals last year.

Thailand’s tourism market has also been hit by a string of foreign tourist tragedies, including last year’s phoenix boat catastrophe that claimed 47 Chinese lives off the coast of Phuket.

The Chinese tourist market is the biggest for Thai tourism, making up nearly 10 million visitors out of the overall 38 million international arrivals last year.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has forecast the number of foreign tourists this year at more than 40 million, contributing 2.13 trillion baht in revenue.

The tourism industry is one of the Thai economy’s few bright spots, generating income that accounts for nearly 18% of the country’s GDP.

Mandatory Health Insurance for Expats

Meanwhile, mandatory health insurance for applicants of Non-Immigrant O-A “retirement” visas approved by the Cabinet last month is likely to be introduced sometime this month.

Under the new regulation, foreigners applying Non-Immigrant O-A visas and one-year permits-to-stay will have to have health insurance providing B40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and B400,000 for inpatient.

The ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs have been instructed to inform all foreigners of these new requirements. Currently, citizens of only 14 countries require health insurance when seeking Thai visas for five years and above.

By Geoff Thomas