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Expats Won’t Be Exempted from Thailand Tourist Tax; Won’t Cover Covid-19

THailand Tourists Covid-19 Masks Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand’s planned 300-baht “tourist tax” will be applied to all foreigners, including expats, and fund an insurance program that will offer up to 500,000 baht a person in case of accidents, not Covid-19.

Tourism and Sports Ministry Assistant Permanent Secretary Mongkon Wimonrat said the fee-collection system for air travelers is ready now. However, more study is needed on how to collect the tax from land and sea arrivals.

Launch of the fee will not start until all tourists arriving by all modes of transportation can be taxed, he said.

By “all without exception”, officials clarified that, originally, diplomats and expats would be exempt from the tax. That proved unworkable, as the fee will be added to airline tickets. Airlines do not collect such granular data and were unwilling to be parties to selective taxation based on visa types.

There will be, however, one exception: Day-pass visas for migrant workers and traders. They will not have to pay the full 300-baht, although their fee has not been set yet.

The insurance policy funded by the tax will last only 30 days. In order to collect the full half-million-baht payout, a tourist would have to be a victim of a riot, terrorism attack, natural disaster or qualifying accident.

Those suffering “emotional distress” can still collect 20,000 baht.

If a tourist dies, the insurance pays out 1 million baht to the family of the victim, while coverage for crematory expenses will top out at 150,000 baht a person.

Covid-19 and other types of illness are excluded from the coverage, said the ministry. That marks a stark change from the tourist tax’s initially stated goal of offering coronavirus coverage for all foreigners.

The Airlines Association of Thailand last month raised concerns about the scheme as the fees applied to foreigners might be regarded as discriminatory.