What is the "Tourism Transformation Fund"?
The “Tourism Transformation Fund” is part of the industry restructuring program developed by the Thai government in 2021. It aims to transform the local tourism industry from one targeting mass market tourists to one being focused on “quality market”, i.e. those bringing greater value or income to Thailand.
It was announced that a tourist entry fee will be collected for all tourists coming into Thailand, whether via Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya or other entry points. The fund was originally planned to be used toward creating more safe and clean places for sustainable, eco-friendly and higher-value tourism. In April 2022, the Thai government tweaked the objective of the fund. It will now be used to “develop tourist sites and offer tourists insurance“.
How much is the tourist entry fee?
Earlier in 2021, the National Tourism Policy Committee had approved a tourist entry fee of THB 300 per person to be levied on tourists arriving in 2022. On October 4, Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), surprisingly announced that the tourist entry fee will be increased to THB 500 per person. It is projected that 5 billion Baht will be collected in 2022 based on the assumption of 10 million tourist arrivals.
The fee increment was later scrapped due to protests by tourism operators in the country. The fee was reverted to THB 300 and its collection was postponed twice to last quarter of 2022 or first quarter of 2023.
On 11 January 2023, the Thai Tourism and Sports Minister announced that the fee will be collected from June 2023 onwards. The proposal has been approved by the Thai Cabinet on 14 February, and the fee was expected to go into effect from around 1 June 2023 or 90 days after it has been published in the Royal Gazette.
However, on 19 April 2023, the Thai Tourism Minister announced that the collection of the tourist entry fee will be postponed for the third time to September 2023. As the deadline drew near, the plan remains in limbo and the Tourism of Thailand governor expects it to start from 2024.
How the fee will be collected?
While the imposition of the fee has been approved by the government, its implementation is still being fine-tuned. Details on how the fee will be collected from tourists and are still being finalized at the time of writing this article.