Thai tour operators feel timing of tourism fee may not be appropriate

07-Oct-2021 Intellasia | StraitsTimes | 5:02 AM Print This Post

TOURISM operators in Thailand are worried the 500 baht (RM61) fee that will be collected from foreign tourists starting next year, would not be appropriate with an industry that needs to recover.

Though they agree with the purpose of the fee collection, some fear that its timing not be appropriate as the industry now needed to stabilise while at the same it needs to attract more visitors so that it can recover from the devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thai Hotels Association (THA) president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi said the concept of setting up a transformation fund for the tourism industry was promising, but there were uncertainties next year that could jeopardise the tourism situation.

She said that even though the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicted that Thailand will receive some 10 million tourists in 2022, the latest forecast from the Bank of Thailand (BoT) has revised it down to 6 million.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the revision was mainly attributed to possible virus spread and new variant, low consumer confidence and stimulus measures that still need consistency.

“Fee collection will impact decision making as the additional cost is considerably high compared with the average expenditure while travelling in Thailand, such as hotel room per night of just 1,000 baht. “If the government really has to move forward, it should not carry out this policy in the first half of next year,” said Marisa.

She said the mechanism of this policy still needed an elaborate plan which can ensure that the programme was really feasible for stakeholders across the board.

Given that tourism operators are still struggling with their financial crisis, she said the co-payment method for development or transformation projects using this fund may prevent many of them from taking part as they don’t have sufficient cash to invest.

“The transformation fund should be outlined based on the real situation. Operators would like to improve their services under the funding guidelines and are willing to invest, but due to severe income shortage, the government should offer a grace period for operators and let them repay when businesses get back on track,” she said.

Thailand announced that will start collecting the 500 baht tourism fee and it will be used to subsidise projects that will transform the industry, focusing on high value and sustainable tourism.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn had said they aimed to collect 5 billion baht within the first year, based on the projected figure of 10 million foreign arrivals next year.

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

He added that they hoped the fund would support a national tourism makeover creating more safe and clean places.


Category: Thailand

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