Thailand may triple visa fees

BANGKOK (AFP): Despite an alarming slump in the country’s critical tourism sector, Thailand is considering a plan to triple visa fees for tourists. Non-immigrant visas, including those for business people, whether resident or visiting, would also rise sharply, a report said today. Thailand’s finance ministry is expected to seek cabinet approval this week for the move, claiming that it would raise some three billion baht (67 million dollars) in annual tax revenues, The Nation daily reported. The visa fees have been in place for 23 years and need to be adjusted to “fit the current economic situation and exchange rates,” The Nation said, quoting a source close to the cabinet. The new fees, all of which triple the current levies, would apply to three types of Thai visas — tourist, transit and non-immigrant. Tourist visas would jump from the current 300 baht (6.70 dollars) to 900 baht (20 dollars), while transit visas would rise from 200 baht (4.50 dollars) to 600 baht (13 dollars). Non-immigrant visas would increase from 500 baht (11 dollars) to 1,500 baht (34 dollars) for a single entry, and from 1,000 baht to 3,000 baht (67 dollars) for a multiple entry. Thai tourism officials said earlier this month that they would launch a campaign to shore up the industry, which has been mauled by the terrorist attacks in the United States and US-led strikes against Afghanistan. Last month, the Tourism Authority of Thailand warned that visitor arrivals over the rest of 2001 could drop by 30 percent.

Phuket News

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