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Thailand new tourist fee

Thailand’s National Tourism Policy Committee has approved the proposal for a THB300 (US$10) fee payable by all arriving international travellers. The fee will ensure all foreign travellers have insurance coverage while in the country, and revenues will also be used to develop tourism infrastructure. Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said it ensures all travellers have access to medical care if they get sick or injured. Details of how the fee will be collected will be announced in the Royal Gazette when the policy takes effect. A compulsory insurance fee has been mooted for several years, due to problems of uninsured travellers avoiding paying their medical bills. It was costing private hospitals and clinics more than $100 million in unpaid bills. There has long been general agreement about imposing the fee but various government departments have failed to agree on its implementation. This has included how and when the fee should be charged and how to exempt travellers with pre-booked travel insurance. The minister expects Thailand to welcome about 10 million inbound visitors this year. Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Editor

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