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Phuket Poll: Do you support the B300 tourist entry fee?

Phuket Poll: Do you support the B300 tourist entry fee?

PHUKET: The decision by Cabinet last week to approve a ‘tourist entry fee’ of B300 for people arriving by air and B150 for people arriving by land or sea has sparked much debate over whether the fee should be introduced at all, and if it is what the money should be spent on.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 21 February 2023, 04:20PM

Image: PRD

Image: PRD

The fee was announced to start sometime in June, with no clear date given. The Ministry of Tourism & Sports is projected to collect B3.9bn from the introduction of the fee alone this year, and more than B10bn from 40 million visitors estimated for next year.

Part of the funds collected will be used to provide health and accident insurance coverage for tourists during their stay in the country, said Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn when confirming the fee had been granted Cabinet approval.

“The entry fee will support care for tourists. From 2017 to 2019, foreign tourists used services at public hospitals and that cost the state as much as B300-400 million,” Mr Phiphat said.

However, the entry fee has been widely criticised by the local tourism industry, which has called for greater scrutiny of the Tourism Promotion Fund, into which entry fees collected will be deposited.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said management of the fund must be transparent and must use the principle of checks and balances to avoid accusations of corruption or ineffective spending.

The structure of the Tourism Promotion Fund’s subcommittee responsible for approving tourism project proposals should be balanced between the government and the private sector to assure that budget allocation does not favour any interest groups or is used for improper purposes, he said.

Soon after the Cabinet approval was announced last week, the Public Relations Department (PRD) started defending the decision with its own ‘informative” releases.

The PRD pointed out that holders of diplomatic, consular or other official passports were exempt from paying the entry fee.

Also exempt were people who are allowed to work in Thailand, transit passengers and children under 2 years old, “or other persons as determined” by the National Tourism Policy Committee, the PRD explained.

“The collection of such fees will be spent on the administration of tourism development as well as being used to arrange insurance for foreign tourists while traveling in Thailand.

“Thailand is the first country in the world to collect fees and return welfare to tourists. through accident, death and repatriation insurance,” PRD said in one of its announcements.

Laguna Phuket 2023


“Such action will reduce the budget burden of taking care of foreign tourists in public health from not collecting medical expenses in full. Previously, the budget for taking care of this group of tourists was approximately B300-400 million per /year,” it added.


The fee will be introduced after 90 days from the date of publication in the Government Gazette, the PRD noted.

The PRD highlighted a slew of local taxes in countries around the world which effectively worked as a “tourism tax”, including in countries such as the United States, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Malaysia and Indonesia.

While the debate rages on, The Phuket News asks its readers: ‘Do you support the B300 tourist entry fee?’

Responses available in the poll are: 

  • Yes, without any conditions
  • Yes, but only if the use of funds is transparent
  • No, we can’t trust that the money collected will be spent properly
  • No, let the tourists spend the B300 while on holiday here

If your preferred response is not available, feel free to submit it in the comments section below.

The poll will remain open until midnight Friday night (Feb 24).

To vote in the poll, click here.

Comment on this story

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Pooliekev | 23 February 2023 - 15:25:18

@Kurt. As usual, you're miles off. The BHT300 doesn't start until June, leaving plenty of time for planning to materialise. What is a 'polis?'

Kurt | 23 February 2023 - 09:31:45

So far from Thai Government  Officials it's only money talk for their coffers. Until now not a single explanation about coverage level, for what, how long, who provide polis? Don't tell me the airticket is the polis. I don't believe a ER of hospital is that accepting as insurance proof.

Mr Richie | 23 February 2023 - 08:49:49

I pay $200 aus for travel ins before I leave for Phuket, so that I am covered for any emergancies whilst overseas everthing covered. so why a 300 bht for hospital fees for me ? when you arrive in Phuket and have no insurance policy then yes you should be turned back or have a policy taken out at the airport. Simple.

Kurt | 23 February 2023 - 05:57:16

@Taswegian, Cheap airfares? Were? 
@Kamala Pete, Great idea! For your plan/idea is than B3.5 billion per year available!  ( B3.9 billion minus B400 million health insurance tourists) I look forward/dream already about all these fantastic pedestrian side walks that are coming.

Taswegian | 22 February 2023 - 11:30:08

Just because you can get a cheap airfare does not mean that you can now go on a cheap holiday. If you can't afford to buy travel insurance, then stay home.

Kamala Pete | 22 February 2023 - 11:17:21

Yes - provided it is well audited and used for real upgrades - ie supplying rubbish bins along beaches and employing proper beach cleaning workers. Also repairing dangerous sidewalks.

Bobdown | 22 February 2023 - 09:18:03

Happy for money to go to infrastructure upgrades, better services but ...for tourists, no insurance ..no entry..simple.

JohnC | 22 February 2023 - 09:06:47

So I'm guessing this 'tourist' fee will also apply to any foreign expats as well? No matter that they have lived here 30 years and raised a family with a local wife we are still just looked at as ATMs to extort more money from.

Kurt | 22 February 2023 - 08:29:13

Not SUPPORT for Retirees with Retirement visa. 1: They have B800,000 in the bank for medical guaranty if they have no insurance. 2: They pay Departure tax  while traveling. 3: They pay B1000 for a re-entry visa on top of having a retirement visa of B1.900. All this must be enough for a foreign resident who is not tourist. And, most retirees here have a health insurance.

Capricornball | 21 February 2023 - 18:23:01

If a tourist can prove his insurance coverage (like was required during Covid) there should be no tourist fee. If the tourist cannot show proof of coverage, they can be directed to kiosks where the necessary insurance coverage can be obtained for a reasonable rate. Also, retirees with a current Certificate of Residency should also be exempt from the tourist tax.

Capricornball | 21 February 2023 - 18:17:06

No, absolutely cannot trust that the money collected will be spent properly. Much to the contrary, this is a significant pile of money that many corrupt officials are salivating over. It is not the government's job to provide insurance to foreigners, it is the responsibility of the tourist to protect themselves. 

Fascinated | 21 February 2023 - 17:42:16

3-400min hospital expenses, but the scheme will generate ten times that amount? Compulsory travel insurance prior to arrival would be far better ( and makes far more sense) but no one gets rich off that. Follow the money. 


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