Thailand has a unique way of doing most things. Travel during the pandemic hasn’t been excluded, nor are plans for travel as the pandemic becomes endemic, and the country begins to welcome visitors back.

Most tourism dependent countries have launched campaigns to incentivize visitors to come back, such as Malta offering up to €200 just to visit, but Thailand has other ideas.

Starting in 2022, the Southeast Asian country will raise the visitor tax even more than previously expected, in hopes of effectively driving out backpacker and low economic value tourism. Thailand effectively wants fewer people, who spend more money.

Thailand’s New Visitor Tax For 2022

It’s never easy to say that something is “official” in Thailand, until you actually witness it with your own two eyes. Bills and laws can pass through countless committees and government bodies but still get quashed without notice.

With that said, Thailand will begin collecting a 500THB (about $15USD) tourism fee starting in 2022.

The new tourist fee was initially expected to cost 300THB per visitor, but Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) officials, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism & Sports want an additional 200THB per visitor for “special projects”.

These projects are said to include anything that transforms the industry, or adds a sustainable “green” component to tourism. New Zealand, for its part, raised tourism related visitor fees recently, specifically to protect natural resources.

Thai tourism officials aren’t being coy about the intentions of the new visitor taxes, beyond the environmental concerns. They want to drive away low value tourism which doesn’t create enough revenue for locals and stakeholders to justify the impact.

“The additional cost won’t have an impact on tourists as we want to focus on the quality market,”

Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Thai Tourism Authority (TAT)

In other words, anyone Thailand wants to visit won’t be impacted by $15 in visitor fees.

According to the Bangkok Post, Mr. Yuthasak elaborated further on how the funds received from the new tax would shape Thai tourism. For now, the remarks are quite broad.

(The tax) will fund projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises, or social enterprises that would like to transform their business to meet the fund’s strategy; helping the country restructure from mass tourism to high-value or a bio-, circular and green economic model; and environmentally concerned tourism.

Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Thai Tourism Authority (TAT)

The question for Thailand, is whether the new fee and associated hassles with extra paperwork and payment will send too many potential visitors elsewhere. The next question is whether the funds earmarked for positive tourism change will reach their intended destinations.

Starting in 2022, visitors to Thailand can more than likely expect a new fee to be passed onto their travels, and at this point very few details exist about how. It might be added to flight tax prices, be collected by hotels, or be required as part of a visitor visa.

HT: VFTW

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. airlines will collect it. nothing new. no new paperwork will be required if flying. Any tourist that’s crossing the land border is probably not the one thailand wants anyways

  2. Potential visitors to Thailand must understand that the junta has a deep distrust of foreigners. They were openly described as dirty, badly dressed and lacking in personal hygiene by the Minister of Health at the start of the pandemic and rapidly after that there was widespread talk about eliminating the lower end of the market to protect the country. Since then whole swathes of the tourism industry have been closed by government pandemic restrictions that people now see as actually using Covid as an excuse to create wholesale bankruptcies of bars, entertainment venues and less well financed lodging outlets. So a visitor arriving now would find no bars, alcohol in restaurants but they close early, large proportions of tourist businesses closed and once bustling streets devoid of even locals. Higher pricing of medical treatment for tourists is sanctioned “because it benefits the country so is not discrimination”, higher foreigner entry fees to all kinds of facility abound, and a general attitude of anti foreigner sentiment runs through all government thinking. So potential visitors need to carefully judge if this country is an attractive proposition any more! I live here, am heavily invested in a struggling tourism business but right now see no reason to travel here because there is no fun any more.

    1. You are absolutely right my friend I have a wife and house witch I paid for my family to live comfortably and yet when I managed to get there for a holiday I feel I am treated like a third class human being even though I am quite comfortable financially and don’t need to work

  3. Two things can be true at the same time: Thailand does get too many grubby foreign visitors who are there to party, screw around and do drugs, This has been true for years. Frankly, if I were Thai, I’d support limiting the entry of so many a-holes too. That said, a $15 fee isn’t going to eliminate a single one of them. They bring plenty of money to do the aforementioned activities and the extra cost of a couple of shots isn’t going to dissuade them.

  4. Oh good, that should keep a lot of the bogans from Australia out of there, not to mention the paedophiles from Germany, Austria and the UK

    1. You obviously have memories of a Vietnam 2-3 years ago.
      Unless you’re rich chinese or south Koreans you are no longer welcome here.
      We used to pay $US 25 for a three month tourist visa.
      We’re stuck here due to covid and are getting fleeced $US 85 for each one month extension.
      Thousands of foreigners have left as no longer find Vietnam an attractive place to live.

  5. I think the tax is silly. Today’s young backpacker may very well be tomorrow’s well heeled tourist.

    Welcome back to BA. Apologies if you had a re-entry post I missed and I’m late to the party.

  6. Does anyone remember the 500 baht leaving fee. You put your 500 baht in the machine at the airport, walked to the security gate, sometimes as much as 10 yards away,handed in your ticket, by now at least 60 seconds old, and passed through into passport checks. This was added to the flight price in around 2006 I believe. Has someone found these old abandoned machines and thought……

    1. Thailand thinks everyone has forgotten that they already collect a tax so they decided to add it again. Just like the dual pricing and extortionate national
      park fees falang pay never mind.

  7. You can ask another 1000 persons and get endless different opinions, even the few written by disrespectful, probably mindles individuals. However, Thailand is a very beautieful place to be and most visitors just get back what they bring there. Little more understanding of foreign cultures would be a good start to a better holiday and the relationship between visitors and locals. The way how people or institutions try to get more money is everywhere, hidden or bluntly obvious. That’s the way it was and will be. Everyone can decide on his own if he or she participate or withdraw. My suggestion, if you feel anything negative against Thailand, don’t go there. There are enough nice people coming every year with respect, and they most likely love it there.

  8. If it goes to the people who need it I will pay if it’s just another tax and not used to help normal Thai people have a better life it’s a great shame. Which from my experiences over the years of travel to Thailand is what normally happens.

  9. Foreigner pay already much more. Thai racism is big against foreigner already. Also there is a 500 baht leave tax in the exit ticket from 2006. The last two years has shown to thai people, how they do without the ALWAYS Rich fallang. We are now in costa Rica instead of Thailand. 500 baht extra tourist tax will not stop any poor backpacker. Anyway, Thailand is doing so many laws, that change so fast and so on…

  10. I rember having to pay 500 baht to leave Thailand. My wife owns land in Central Buriram. Once sold, Thailand isn’t the place for retirement, my view.

  11. Many good points are made here. I agree, 15.00$ will not keep anyone away. I also wish so many younger visitors would stop using Thailand solely as a party destination. Yet, I don’t think Thailand wants to go as far as Bhutan: 40.00$ outright for the visa itself and depending on the season, 200.00$ to 250.00$ per day for hotel and food and so on collected by an accredited tour operator pre-arrival. Granted, Bhutan is a special case.

  12. Also, I wish younger visitors all the best during their travels through Thailand and likewise to all the family-run businesses which have depended on these budget travelers for years. It’s not a crime to be limited in financial resources. I was one of those backpackers, back in the day.

  13. I would be glad if Thailand switched to any kind of more sustainable model, but obviously that won’t happen anytime soon.

    For them, the short term is the only matter that prevails. And any government announcement in any good direction will always be propaganda.

  14. Good move. Better move would be to crank it up to 1000 Baht of more. Use the funds to help those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic–taxi drivers, street food venders, etc. Unfortunately, unlikely to happen.

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