The fee would be used to help cover the costs of Covid-19 relief efforts. Advisors have also recommended legalising gambling dens.
Thailand.- The kingdom of Thailand is introducing a new visitor tax to fund Covid-19 relief efforts. Meanwhile, some recommend legalising gambling to increase government revenue.
Tourists who visit the country will have to pay a new 300 baht (US$10) fee, of which 10 per cent will go to insurance coverage, 10 per cent to Covid-19 efforts and the rest to promote tourism and develop attractions.
The tax was due to be introduced in 2020 but it was put on hold in light of the negative impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions on tourism.
In 2020 only 6.5 million people visited Thailand, down from 40 million in 2019. Visitors are currently required to undergo three Covid-19 tests during a 14-day compulsory quarantine.
The new tax has now been approved by the National Tourism Policy Committee and will come into effect once it is published in the Royal Gazette.
Legalisation of gambling
Thailand’s former Finance Minister, Korn Chatikavanij, has recently advised the government to legalise underground casinos.
He argued that this would not only bring extra income to state coffers but also help contain the spread of Covid-19 in unauthorised venues.
Illegal gambling dens and cockfighting rings have been linked to recent infections in the country. Customers continue to attend the venues despite public health recommendations.
Cockfighting is permitted in Thailand but gambling is illegal. Police forces seek to arrest gamblers and the organisers of unlicensed gambling activities.