Will they, won’t they…
It’s not yet known if Thailand’s plan to impose a 300 baht levy on international arrivals will go ahead. The on again/off again so-called “tourism fee” or “arrival tax” or “tourist levy” has faced a number of roadblocks that have hampered its implementation and made it look increasingly unlikely to go ahead anytime soon.
The Bangkok Post reports that the matter is now up to the new administration to decide. The fee was initially approved by the outgoing Cabinet in February of this year and would have seen 300 baht being collected from air passengers, and 150 baht from those arriving by land or sea. However, it has yet to be published in the Royal Gazette and until that happens, nothing happens.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says it will be up to the new government to decide the future of the scheme, but he believes implementation should be postponed until next year, when the tourism sector has fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, airlines have rebuffed a suggestion that the fee could be embedded in airfares, calling the proposal impractical. This has left the outgoing government a bit stuck when it comes to how to actually collect the money.
There was some talk of payment kiosks at airports, but that too was shot down due to the possibility of it causing congestion and inconveniencing newly-arrived tourists before they’ve even left the airport.
The president of the Thai Hotels Association is another proponent of delaying the whole thing for now. Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi says that while most hotel operators support the idea of a tourism fee, they want to see it postponed until the industry has recovered.
“We want to reiterate our message to the new government that the timeline of this project should be revised. The structure of the fund’s management must also be clear so we can explain to tourists how their money will be spent.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post