Thailand set to introduce tourist tax?

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Thailand set to introduce tourist tax?

Fancy a trip to Thailand? You might want to think about going this year as the government is considering a tourist tax for every international visitor from January 2014.

Authorities are said to be considering charging every tourist a fee of 500 baht (around £10) upon arrival for anyone staying longer than three days.

Public Health minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the 'entry fee' was a move to see a higher quality of tourist visiting Thailand.

Pradit said the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Royal Thai Police all backed the introduction of a visitor arrival fee.

According to the Daily Mail, he said: "Now is the time for us to have quality tourists. It's not as if inbound tour operators won't organise tours for foreign tourists to come to the country because of the entry fees."

He added that the money would go towards "tourism, health and foreign affairs ministries, and the Immigration Bureau".

Phuket Director of Public Health, Kajohnsak Kaewjarus, agreed that the money from the fee could be spent on additional care for tourists and for residents.

"A share of the fee could lift living standards and health care across Phuket," he told Phuket Wan Tourism News. "It would be good for people who live on the island as well as for visitors."

Andrew Wood, national president of Skal International Thailand, said the government had come under financial pressure for its funding of treatment for tourists' medical emergencies.

But, he told Travel Mole: "My biggest concern is, who will collect this money and what is it going to be spent on?

"I'm sure there are better ways to collect this huge sum than taking cash from tourists arriving at the airport.

"In the past the government bundled the passenger airport tax with airfares which made a lot of sense."

And some Thai travel agents are not happy about the fee, suggesting it could negatively affect the tourism industry.

Sitdiwat Cheevarattanaporn, chairman of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), told The Phuket News: "The plan will affect the tourism industry, both in the short run and the long run, because tourists will feel bad about Thailand and they may feel they are being cheated."

Would you be put off visiting Thailand because of a £10 per person entry fee? Leave your thoughts below.

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