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HOME // National News // Critics of new arrival tax call for greater oversight on the Thailand Tourism Fund

Critics of new arrival tax call for greater oversight on the Thailand Tourism Fund

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There are growing calls for increased scrutiny of Thailand’s Tourism Fund, with concerns raised about how the money will be used. The fund was established to support the country’s tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Collection of the 300 baht fee from international tourists is expected to begin on June 1.

Read about the Tourism Tax/Landing Fee/Arrival Tax HERE.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is expected to collect around 3.9 billion baht from arrivals this year and over 10 billion baht next year. However, there are concerns about a lack of transparency as to how the money will be spent.

Critics argue that the Tourism Fund, which is understood to have a budget of over 13 billion baht, won’t do enough to support small and medium-sized businesses in the tourism industry, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic. There are concerns that the fund may be used to support large, established businesses, rather than providing support to those most in need.

The president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents says there must be transparency around management of the fund, with checks and balances to show accountability and avoid accusations of misappropriation of funds.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn says the sub-committee responsible should comprise members from both the government and the private sector to ensure there is no favouritism shown to certain groups.

In response to these concerns, the Tourism and Sports Ministry has promised to increase transparency around the fund’s operations. The ministry has also said that it will provide more support to small and medium-sized businesses in the tourism industry.

Sisdivachr has also expressed concern about how the fee might be collected at land borders, pointing out the risk of corruption. He says the ministry will need a system that shows the exact number of arrivals and total fees collected at each immigration checkpoint.

The tourism ministry says that for people entering at land borders, there could be a system whereby they pay the fee at a kiosk before proceeding to immigration. Officials say bidding to manage the collection system could be opened up to the private sector.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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