The 300-baht tourism fee that has been postponed from June to September is facing criticism from Thai tourism operators regarding its clarity.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has postponed the imposition of the levy on foreign arrivals by air, reasoning that airlines cannot differentiate between foreign tourists, Thais, and expatriates. The delay has come because airlines have argued that regulations must be applied equally to all passengers, but the Tourism Ministry does not want the tourism fee to apply to certain types of expatriates and Thai nationals.
Meanwhile, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, insisted that the levy postponement should be applied to land and sea arrivals as well for consistency.
He advised that the Tourism ministry should establish a new organization to specifically deal with the fee collection for all foreign arrivals, regardless of mode of transportation, instead of burdening airlines with the task.
Bhummikitti , however, expressed his support for the new fee, stating that it would contribute to the development of tourism destinations and communities in Thailand, as well as cover medical expenses for certain foreign tourists in public hospitals, which have amounted to over 10 million baht annually.
He also pointed out that the fee might impact cross-border visitors, such as Malaysian tourists in Songkhla province, who frequently travel to Thailand every month for weekend breaks.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said that the delay in implementing the fee would provide some relief for tourists amidst rising travel costs.
However, she disagreed with some suggestions that hotels should assist in the fee collection because Thailand still has numerous unregistered hotels whose operators may not adhere to the same rules for their guests.