With the introduction of a 300 baht tourism arrival “tax” postponed, the Thai government was rumoured to be considering an additional 1000 baht international departure tax. The Phuket Express reports that the Revenue Department’s website is currently hosts a public hearing questionnaire (survey) to solicit opinion on the possibility of introducing a government departure tax of 1,000 baht.
All departures from Thailand currently pay a departure tax and have done so for many decades, hidden in the cost of their airfare.
The levy would be imposed on all Thai citizens and foreign residents, not foreign tourists, and the idea seems to be to “stop people spending too much money abroad”, by taking it off them before they leave… The departure tax would be 1,000 baht for those departing by air and 500 baht for people leaving by land or sea. The online public survey runs until May 17.
Officials say the tax could reduce the country’s trade deficit, but the suggestion has been dismissed by tourism operators, many of whom expressed surprise at the proposal.
Charoen Wangananont, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, says the tax makes no sense as Thailand doesn’t have a problem with a trade deficit in the tourism sector. He points out that 70% of total revenue is from inbound tourism and only 30% of expenses relate to outbound tourism.
Charoen has also criticised the proposed amount, pointing out that 1,000 baht is too steep amid the current economic situation. He believes the fee could have a negative impact on tourism, and may even prove counterproductive when it comes to generating revenue.
“We thought this was fake news the first time we saw the poll because it is not the right time to do such a move. If the government really thinks it needs to collect a departure tax, it should have done so before the pandemic, when the tourism industry was on an upward trend. The levy rate should also be more appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the vice-president of the TTAA says the government would have to be transparent on how the funds would be spent. Chotechuang Soorangura also agrees that 1,000 baht is too much, pointing out that Japan’s departure tax is just 1,000 yen, or around 250 baht.
Meanwhile, following revelation of the survey, Winit Wisetsuwannaphum, deputy director-general of Thailand’s Revenue Department told the Bangkok Post…
“There is not a plan to collect the departure tax.”
SOURCE: The Phuket Express | Bangkok Post