Airport departure tax to rise 40pc

PHUKET: Departure taxes for international flights from Phuket will be hiked by 40% next year, soaring from the current 500 baht to 700 baht. Domestic passengers, who currently pay 50 baht a flight, will also face a hefty rate increase. The amount has yet to be set but according to Lt Cdr Boonchart Prompoon, Director of the Airports Authority of Thailand, Phuket, it will be “not more than 100 baht per flight”. Landing and parking fees for aircraft, too, are set to increase, by around 20%. Explaining the hikes, Cdr Boonchart said the extra revenue raised by the Airports Authority of Thailand (AAT) will be used to subsidize the construction and day-to-day running of Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which is due to open in October 2005. Defending the rise, he said, somewhat inaccurately, “The airport departure tax has not risen for 10 years.” International departure taxes were last raised in 1998, doubling from 250 baht to the current level. “This new charge for people leaving Thailand is a small amount of money to pay when compared with the amount they would pay for other activities, such as movie or show tickets,” Cdr Boonchart said. “The passengers will not suffer through this increase and it will have little impact on their thinking or on the tourism industry,” he added. However, Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of of the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA), said he fears that any increase will have a direct effect on tourism. “There is a terrorism crisis in the southern provinces of Thailand and a host of problems that have affected regional tourism recently,” he said. “We [the tourism industry] should be doing what we can to promote Thailand and attract tourists. If airport taxes are raised, why should we bother promoting the country?”

Phuket News
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