Thailand’s planned 300 baht levy/tax/fee on foreign arrivals, often referred to as a “tourism tax”, has been delayed once again. The additional levy was initially expected to be implemented in early 2022, but was pushed back due to the emergence of Covid variants that threatened the country’s already fragile tourism sector.
The last postponement was announced a few months ago, pushing the implementation to at least September this year. Now it’s been pushed back further by the caretaker tourism and sports minister.
The fee has been much criticised for the lack of transparency surrounding it, including little clarity on how the funds would be collected, used and overseen. There was confusion over how the fee would be collected from inbound foreign passengers, with airlines pushing back on suggestions that it could be incorporated into airfares. Thais were always going to be exempt from the new tax.
The government has always insisted the fund would be used as some sort of “emergency insurance top-up” for tourists. The Tourism Ministry has also previously stated that the revenue generated from the arrivals tax would be used to improve tourist sites, such as adding disabled access entrances and restrooms.
Having already been delayed a number of times, the levy was set to be implemented from June 1 of this year, only for it to be subsequently pushed back to September. Now, it seems the current caretaker government has decided to postpone it yet again, this time to January 1, 2024, according to a Phuket Express report.
This will leave the mess for the incoming government to figure out and decide if they’ll go ahead with the new arrival tax on not.
Outgoing tourism minister Piphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed the fee was once more being postponed yesterday, but did not clarify the reasons behind the decision.
“We have agreed to postpone the 300-baht “land entry” fee collection which previously was expected to take effect this month, to January 1 of next year. The fee will not be collected from foreigners with Border Passes, work permits, and babies younger than two years old.”
There has been some speculation that the fee is being postponed due to fierce opposition from tourism operators and an ongoing lack of clarity as to how the fund would be overseen.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express