Thai government ditches 300-baht fee for tourists: Massive insurance plan

Photo courtesy of The Nation

In a bold move to restore tourist trust, Thailand‘s Tourism and Sports Ministry has abandoned the long-delayed 300-baht tourism fee and is now looking for another type of insurance for tourists.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is spearheading a grand plan to offer a whopping 500,000 baht coverage for injuries and a jaw-dropping 1 million baht in the event of a fatal accident.

Amid rising concerns over Thailand’s safety, the Tourism and Sports Ministry is crafting an ambitious insurance blueprint to safeguard tourists. PM Srettha, in a decisive cabinet meeting yesterday, December 19, instructed the ministry to formulate an insurance plan that guarantees the safety of all tourists during their travels in the country.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol revealed that the government, in a strategic move to stabilise tourism sentiment, is abandoning the previously elusive 300-baht fee scheme. Instead, they are exploring alternative avenues to ensure the safety of visitors, aiming for an insurance coverage of 500,000 baht for injuries and a substantial 1 million baht in the unfortunate event of a tourist’s death due to an accident.

The ministry initially proposed a case-by-case compensation plan utilising a 50-million-baht budget for incidents such as the Siam Paragon mass shooting or the recent tragic death of a Taiwanese tourist denied emergency care at a private hospital. However, with the prime minister insisting on extending coverage to all tourists, the ministry is set to consult with relevant authorities and the Office of the Insurance Commission to devise a comprehensive plan and budget, surpassing the initial 50 million baht projection.

While the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund, which previously compensated tourists in case of accidents, was dissolved two years ago, there is still no permanent mechanism or budget in place to assist tourists. The 61 year old PM urged the Tourism and Sports Ministry to collaborate with the Public Health Ministry to establish public health measures. He emphasised the need for urgency in proposing the plan to the cabinet, suggesting the use of the central budget if necessary, reported Bangkok Post.

Compensation coverage

In a bid to reinforce tourist safety, Srettha also called for collaboration between the ministry and the Royal Thai Police to supervise immigration police and tourist police. These measures come in the wake of a recent incident where a Taiwanese tourist was turned away by a private hospital, leading to his tragic demise.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, expressed optimism about the move, stating that providing travel insurance for all foreign tourists would significantly boost their confidence in travelling to Thailand. She recommended that the government transparently outline compensation amounts based on various types of illnesses and injuries, ensuring clarity for tourists.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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