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Thailand considering tourist tax for foreign visitors

The tax would fund upkeep of attractions and cover insurance for visitors

Bangkok cityscape.

Bangkok cityscape.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Authorities in Thailand are considering introducing a “tourist tax” to help improve local attractions and cover insurance for foreign visitors.

The idea was floated by the country’s Tourism and Sports Ministry after a new tourism act came into force on May 22, according to the Bangkok Post. Research is being undertaken to study the potential impact a tourist tax would have on the industry, said the country’s tourism permanent secretary Chote Trachu.

Tourism stakeholders will be consulted during a six-month study prior to any final decisions, he said. The study will include research into the environmental impact of large volumes of visitors to historical sites, in order to facilitate sustainable tourism in the future.

Thailand would follow is the footsteps of countries such as Japan, which implements a 1,000 yen “sayonara” tax, and Malaysia, which recently levied a US$5 departure charge for visitors from ASEAN countries, and a US$10 charge for international tourists.

Thailand is an increasingly popular destination for world travelers. It received 38 million visitors in 2018, up 7.5 percent from the previous year.

Over 600,000 Taiwanese nationals visited Thailand in 2018, making it the current top travel pick for holiday-goers from Taiwan.