Thai government considers tourist tax

Thai government considers tourist tax

The Thai government is considering the introduction of an international tourist tax to pay for visitors' unpaid medical bills and attract more "quality" holidaymakers.

The proposed tax would be around 500 baht, around £10, per person when arriving by air and staying longer than three days or 30 baht (60p) if travelling overland from a neighbouring country. It could be introduced as early as January 2014.

The proposal is "one of several ideas" under consideration by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism & Sport to boost investment, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

A TAT spokeswoman stressed the bill had yet to be approved and passed by government.

Unpaid medical bills, left by visitors staying in Thailand without the correct travel insurance, are costing the Thai government around 200 million Thai baht a year and putting a strain on the country's hospitals, according to TAT.

In a statement, TAT said: "The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism & Sport are considering and discussing several options for how best to settle this."

It added that the proposal also formed part of the Ministry of Tourism & Sports' objectives to target 'quality' tourists and encourage more high-spending, long stay visitors.

In August, the government announced a proposal for a compulsory tourist travel insurance for all holidaymakers entering the country, also a way to foot the mounting medical bills.

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