If Thailand is a destination in the cards for you this year, there’s a new fee to keep in mind. According to senior officials, all tourists will be required to pay a 300 baht ($9) fee beginning in April to cover tourism development and expenses.
Thailand is a coveted vacation with plenty to do for any type of traveler. But the pandemic hit the country’s tourism sector hard, slowing from 40 million visitors in 2019 to 200,000 last year, according to Reuters. The government is hopeful that number will rise to between five and 15 million visitors this year. The country will use the money to cover accident insurance for tourists unable to pay for it themselves, new tourist attractions, and improvements for infrastructure. The fee will be included in the price of airline tickets.
“Part of the fee will be used to take care of tourists. We’ve encountered times when insurance didn’t have coverage for tourists … which became our burden to take care of them,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, according to local media.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, along with the tourism fee, US travelers are currently required to submit a negative RT-PCR (NAAT) test taken within 72 before departing to Thailand, a Thailand pass, an insurance policy with coverage no less than $50,000 for medical expenses. There are two schemes currently offered for foreign travelers. The Sandbox program is available for fully vaccinated travelers entering through Phuket, Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao). Sandbox program travelers must provide a confirmed payment for at least a seven-day stay at an approved accommodation, as well as pre-payment for two COVID-19 PCR tests — one upon arrival, and another five-to-six days after staying at their approved accommodation.
The Alternative Quarantine program allows travelers to apply for the Thailand Pass regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated travelers will be subject to a 7-night quarantine, while those who haven’t been fully vaccinated will be subject to a 10-night quarantine. All visitors must pre-pay to stay in an Alternative Quarantine accommodation with two pre-paid COVID-19 tests.