Thailand is one of the world’s best-loved tourism destinations. The country, which received more tourists than any other destination in the world in 2019, is a bargain destination for most international tourists.
Visa-free entry for most nationalities as well as a favourable exchange rate against most major currencies help to make Thailand an extremely attractive holiday destination for nationals of most countries.
Thailand is, however, attempting to reposition itself – from its status as a budget tourist destination attracting the tourist masses to one which draws fewer tourists but who are high-spend visitors. The country is set to introduce a tourism tax in 2022, in an attempt to achieve the transformation of its tourism industry.
THAILAND’S GRADUAL REOPENING
Having been off-limits for over a year, due to the extended border closure, travellers from South Africa and other parts of the world are eager to visit Thailand’s bustling cities, its exotic islands, and idyllic tropical beaches once again.
While Thailand has begun to ease entry restrictions for foreign nationals, through its Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus initiatives, the Land of Smiles is still not fully open as a tourist destination since international visitors still face a type of quarantine and restrictions on movement.
The absence of international visitors is weighing heavily on the South East Asian country. Thailand welcomed more than 40 million tourists in 2019. In 2020, its revenue from tourism dropped by 83% as the number of tourists dropped from 40 million in 2019 to just 6.7 million visitors.
THAILAND TO CHARGE TOURIST TAX
According to the Bangkok Post, visitors to the Kingdom of Thailand will be charged 500 Thai baht (R 212) as a tourism tax from next year. This tax is likely to be collected from visitors when entering the country.
Thailand’s National Tourism Policy Committee approved the new tourism tax earlier this year when the proposed fee was 300 baht (R121) per person.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that an additional 200 baht will be collected in order to fund private sector projects in the country’s tourism sector.
TRANSFORMING THAI TOURISM
The new tourism tax will reportedly contribute towards Thailand’s tourism transformation fund. The fund will aid projects that transform the country’s tourism industry – with a focus on creating high-value and sustainable tourism.
It is said that the fund will help Thailand to carry out initiatives that tackle environmental rehabilitation as Thailand tries to restructure itself from being a mass tourism destination.