A New “Arrival Tax” Proposed for Thailand

October 18, 2013


If the Public Health Minister gets his way, there might soon be a kind of “tourist tax” that you will have to pay when you arrive in Thailand on your holiday. The 500 Baht “arrival tax” could probably be seen like the “departure tax” that you used to have to pay before you were allowed to leave the country. I remember making sure I had a 500 Baht note when I flew out of the airport to make sure I could pay this tax. The price of this tax actually went up to 700 Baht AFTER it was added to the cost of your ticket. So, most people didn’t know about it. I hear that they want to put it up again next year.

[tweet https://twitter.com/RichardBarrow/status/391008003136421888]

The article in The Nation this morning didn’t really make it clear how this “arrival tax” would work. Would they charge you at Immigration as you entered? But then, what about the people who haven’t exchanged their money to Thai Baht? Maybe they will add this to the airline ticket as well? But, what about the people who arrive by land? Another idea is that the 500 Baht would be paid at the embassies abroad when you buy a visa. But, what about the people who arrive in the  country with “visa exemption”? If you start charging them, then it is hardly free any more to enter Thailand.

[tweet https://twitter.com/RichardBarrow/status/391008731745361921]

The article didn’t actually say what the extra 10 Billion Baht would be used for, but as it was proposed by the Health Minister, it must be about the “no insurance” problem again. A few months back, the Minister of Tourism and Sports told The Nation that unpaid hospital bills by foreign tourists with no insurance is costing the country over 200 Million Baht annually. As a consequence, they have started to discuss the possibility of making it compulsory for all foreign tourists to have insurance before they are allowed to enter Thailand. A figure of 500 Baht was mentioned. As the Health Minister is now talking about this fee, it can be presumed that they are moving ahead with this idea.

[tweet https://twitter.com/RichardBarrow/status/367165894281416704]

The final say will come from the cabinet. What do you think? Fair enough? Or should they use some of the billions that they are already making from the tourism business to solve this problem?

13 Responses to A New “Arrival Tax” Proposed for Thailand

  1. ken
    October 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Why can’t they just make foreigners who visit the hospitals to pay cash?

  2. Pol
    October 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    How do countries like Usa, France or Spain, who have more than double of tourist than Thailand do, deal with this problem?

    Probably they already have some solutions for this issue.

    • Cengizhan
      October 25, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Ohh yes , they have the Solution alright 🙂 150 euro / 200$ visa fee 🙂

  3. Ivo H.
    October 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I do not believe it was ever introduced as being a “arrival tax” and as many other countries actually have a tourist tax and an airport-tax I not see any reason to bring this up in this case.

    I think actually the 30-Thai-baht-health-care-system has a money problem and tourists are just a way to get some extra money for the costs that have to be made for the 99% Thai people that are using this system. I think that most tourists do not go to government hospitals and most tourist juts pay their bills.

  4. Matt Owens Rees
    October 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Other posters might have different experiences but Thai hospitals will usually treat only when they see cash or an imprint of a credit card. I suspect most tourists would have a card. We’ll have to wait for the detail. At a time when there is so much adverse publicity for Thailand as a tourist destination, the timing seems odd.

  5. Chris
    October 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Tourists will pay – no problem!
    But the Thai Government should spend some time ensuring that those Thai people on the fringes, many earning tons of cash, pay some income tax. It’s a disgrace that so many have good businesses, but don’t have licences,do any proper bookkeeping or accounts and operate for years and years with what appears to be no challenges from the Government.
    Let’s start a new thread on this subject

  6. David
    October 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    The questions are how much business will Thailand lose? how many people will go to other destinations at Thailand’s loss? And which countries will gain from Thailand’s debacle?

    • AC
      October 23, 2013 at 5:08 am

      500 baht is approx $16.60, if someone is going on holiday and decides they wont go to Thailand because of an extra $16.60 then they’re stupid.

  7. October 19, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I say, instead of an Arrival Tax, make it mandatory to have Health Insurance. On the Arrival Card you have a place to detail what your Coverage is. If you have none, you have to buy a Thai Health Insurance Product before getting in, another line up.

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