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Work Permit Holders Exempt from Thailand Tourist Tax

Suvarnabhumi Internationa Airport Bangkok Thailand BKK Arrivals Sign

Foreigners with work permits will be exempt from paying the planned 300-baht tourist tax to be levied later this year, the Tourism and Sports Ministry said.

Permanent Secretary Chote Trachu told the media Tuesday that expats who work in Thailand legally aren’t considered tourists.

Others exempt from the fee nationals from neighboring countries entering the country during the day to do business, foreign diplomats, government officials and children under age 2.

Chote didn’t say whether expats on retirement visas would be subject to the tourist tax.

Not yet approved by the cabinet, the fee is expected to be imposed in the second half of the year. However, officials are still figuring out how to collect the tax. They have decided, however, to charge airlines up to 2% for collecting the fee. That, along with the 300 baht, will be passed on to passengers.

The tax only will be imposed on air travelers initially, with those entering via land getting hit later.

A maximum 50 of the 300-baht fee will be put into an insurance fund for tourists to cover them in case of contracting Covid-19, accidents, riots, terrorism attacks, natural disasters or other incidents. Coverage likely will range between 20,000 and 1 million baht, depending on the incident or illness.

The rest will go toward a shady “tourist promotion fund” with no clear outline of who or for what the money will be used for. Critics complain it will end up being one more corrupt pool of money for public officials to loot.

A whopping five committees will have their fingers in fund management, with members from both the public and private sectors with oversight to be assigned to government bureaucrats.