Foreign Tourists to Face 500 Baht Entry Fee

 | Tue 19 Nov 2013 11:52 ICT

CityNews – Concerns have been raised by the Tourism Council of Thailand that a plan by the government to charge a 500 baht entry fee could scare off foreign tourists. ‘Amazing Thailand’ is Thailand’s international marketing slogan.Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong feels visitors to Thailand should help shoulder the cost of emergency medical services. He claims the Ministry of Health has to fork out as much as 300 million baht each year to cover emergency medical services provided to foreign tourists.However, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Piyaman Tejapaibul, said the scheme would do nothing to benefit the tourism industry and would damage tourist figures. He added that the tourism industry already brings in a lot of revenue, but the government has never used this money to support and develop tourism. 
Pradit claims that a 500 baht entry fee for any foreign tourist entering the Kingdom for between 3 and 30 days would generate around 10 billion baht. This would be enough to provide between 200,000 to 300,000 baht in emergency care for each foreign tourist requiring medical treatment.
The proposal is unlikely to be welcomed by foreign visitors who purchase private travel insurance, which covers them for medical services in the event of unexpected accidents or illnesses during their stay in Thailand. Pradit said he was only interested in good tourists visiting Thailand, not the type that would quibble over a 500 baht entrance fee.