Thailand’s attempted reboot of tourism hasn’t quite been brilliant.

Perhaps the 31 initial steps proposed to obtain a visa, and 90 days of pre-paid accommodation also required were a bit off putting for some. Then it got a bit weird, with a Tinder partnership, and with few exceptions, has continued to be a struggle, despite the relaxing of international visa requirements.

The country is more open now than anyone realizes – heck, even Americans can go – but the 14 days of strict quarantine and continuous hoops have moved the country down a place or two on many bucket lists for the time being, with people favoring easier options. Now, a new move from TAT, the Tourism Authority of Thailand may dissuade people even more, but it could be a positive in disguise.

Temples in Chiang Mai

Thailand’s New 300 Baht Tourism Fee

Despite plummeting global demand, Thailand is adding a new fee for all tourist arrivals. The new 300 Thai Baht levy won’t break many banks, at a cost of just $10USD, but it sends an unfriendly message at a time many countries are eagerly attracting visitors with digital nomad visas, and other enticements, including waived visa fees.

It may also add some pre-travel paperwork to the equation, or extra hassle with a fee payable upon entry. Cash, or credit?

The 300 baht fee, which according to the Bangkok Post, has been approved by the National Tourism Policy Committee (NTPC), is said to support tourism infrastructure and provide health insurance for visitors. Yes, you read that correctly, circa $1 of the $10 fee will reportedly create adequate healthcare for visitors, though it’s unclear how this would work with any personal travel health insurance, or other coverage.

If true, rather than just “too good to be true” as it currently would appear, it would easily become the cheapest travel insurance in the world. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Sports and Tourism Minister, stated…

“The merit of the 300-baht tourism fee is that foreign tourists who fall sick or are injured will be taken care of and given adequate medical care”.

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Sports & Tourism Minister of Thailand

Details of this policy will be critical as its officially introduced in the short term. If all visitors would genuinely receive top notch complimentary care, all from $1 out of their $10 entry fee, what’s perceived as a cheap money grab to shore up tourism losses in a desperate time may be wrong after all. It could actually become an attractive offer.

With 10 million visitors expected in 2021 by Thai Tourism Authorities – a figure which remains highly questionable – Thailand stands to make $100 million off the tourism fee annually. Not bad at all, for something created out of thin air.

Is this simply a new way to generate even more money from inbound visitors during a significant slow down, or a sustainable new measure which will help to restore traveler confidence amid growing health awareness, particularly in international travel?

One thing is for sure, the new fee is coming shortly. Whether travelers see any benefit remains to be seen. We’ll update this article with details of what travelers will actually receive from the new fee, once it hits the Thai Royal Gazette.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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25 Comments

  1. Just another big scam from the biggest scammers in the world they will always find scams at what they are good at not trying to make it easy and free to travel to come thailand there to many hoops to jump through and Thailand will be way down the list of people being interested going to thailand at the moment they are just pissing people off they are looking for 10 million tourist in 2021 if I was them I would not hold my breath but there again they will lie about the figures and the money tourist have spent like they normally do

  2. Well, the devil is in the details. If adequate health insurance is included in that fee, I would be all for it. It is very expensive and difficult for people over 65 to get international health insurance. I’ll reserve my judgment until the details are known. Health insurance coverage is always a very “complicated” affair, especially when the bill comes due.
    I love Thailand and stay there for the winter (not this one, however). But I too am getting a little annoyed at all the bureaucracy and process that is becoming part of the journey. What part of tracking devises on tourists do they think is going down well for Western tourists??

    1. I think this $1 health insurance don’t avoid your “real” health insurance in the many papers you must have to enter Thailand. It s only one more thing you have to pay to visit Thailand. Another shot in the foot.

  3. Forget Thailand, unless you’re there for their sex industry. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar etc are culturally and gastronomically far far better and cheaper.

    1. There is no better valued hotels , and better foods than in Thailand. Forget Vietnam’s foods , Cambodian crap and Laos hit and miss delicacies ….. but Thais are and always will be the greediest , sleaziest Southeast Asians .

  4. In an ideal world i think this ” tourist tax ” is a cracking idea if it is for health purposes even better idea.. Give every tourist a card on arrival saying ” tourist health insurance PAID ” maybe this message can put before ” THE BOARD”

  5. It is very much a money mad nation, expect to pay out as soon as you set foot into Thailand. Tipping taxes using the toilet, visas & now bringing back the entry fee, when visiting the islands you pay an entry fee $10 sunbeds $3 sad to say its not as cheap as it used to be. I’ve been going there for many years, there are some great places if you travel more inland its better value & service, loas Vietnam Cambodia & the Philippines are easy to get to, do your homework for 2022. (Don’t book in advance in these uncertain times) is my advice, I am still owed for cancelled flights.

  6. What about the requirement for $100,000 health insurance? Will this $10 fee will replace the $100,000 insurance requirement?
    Only hang up now is 14 days quarantine and the health insurance requirement.
    Where can I find the answer to this matter?

  7. Is there any point in going to Thailand? The government has made sure the country ins on its knees. Don’t Liston to all the crap about it’s getting better, the truth is most of the businesses, bars, restaurants are closed , and most will never reopen. It’s going to take more than a 300THB tourist fee to save this, onetime amazing destination.

  8. No point in going everywhere is in lockdown and you have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel of their choice even if you have your own place there. Most bars will not reopen and it will never be the same. Especially Pattaya.

  9. As a expat in Thailand we witness these meaningless talking shop policies all the time, the policies come from the different departments of the “government” attempting to justify thier positions, do not be misled it is yet just another policy that will never get Implemented or forgotten in a few days,

  10. Everybody should boycott thailand as the thai government see foreigners as cash cows who are fair game to be constantly milked. Also, with the exchange rate being so terrible these days, the last thing you need is the greedy thai government picking your pocket even more than before. Thailand is now poor value for money, as inflation has also taken its toll in recent years, with prices rising much quicker than in many other places. In summary think of thailand as a sinking ship. You wouldn’t want to be on a ship if it was sinking. So best give thailand a wide berth, unless you enjoy squandering your hard earned dough.

    1. The mechanics behind any change in travel restriction, or new measure a tourist must endure is always newsworthy. The US ESTA, for example, carries a similar small fee, but created a huge new burden for tourists before travel, and the regular maintenance of said ESTA is equally newsworthy. Thanks for coming by and reading about it though!

  11. I really dont know what you lot are whining about I love thailand I have a thai wife…if you dont like it go to to other Asian countries thai people need the tourists I get that so what if you have to pay a small fee who cares..?
    No state benefits in thailand you dont work you dont eat..simple…

  12. I am sorry to sound rude, but there area lot of naïve statements here about the money grabbing Thais. I would suggest the Thai government is also being naïve by even publicising the 300 baht.
    Why?
    They should have just increased general airport taxes, like pretty much every major country does and hidden it saying the increase is inflation. The taxes are hidden in the fares. When was the last time any of you checked to see how much tax you pay and how it’s calculated?
    All governments impose taxes in different ways on airports/ flights and no, it’s not usually a simple %. It’s random and some countries charge much heavier taxes than others.

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