(Singapore, Feb 15 2023) Despite being widely critised by the local tourism industry, Thailand will impose an entry fee on all foreign holidaymakers starting from 1 June, following a better-than-expected recovery in tourist arrivals.

Travellers flying into Thailand will need to pay 300 baht (S$11.7) for each trip while those entering the South-east Asian nation via land borders and seaports will be levied 150 baht (S$5.9) each.

Thailand Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the levy will bring in around 3.9 billion baht (S$152.39 million) in 2023. Part of this will go towards the development of tourist attractions while money will also cover health and accidental insurance for tourists during their visit.

“From 2017 to 2019, foreign tourists used services at public hospitals that purportedly cost the state as much as 300 to 400 million baht (S$11.7 to S$15.6 million).”

According to Bangkok Post, foreigners visiting Thailand on day trips that do not include an overnight stay are exempted from the fee.

Bloomberg reports that Thailand has brought up the collection of such entry fees since pre-Covid times but the pandemic delayed its implementation.

Following the drop in pandemic regulations and the end of China’s Zero-Covid policy, some estimates suggest tourist numbers to almost triple compared to 2022 and reach 30 million this year.

The number of tourists visiting Thailand was steadily increasing before the pandemic. In 2017, the country welcomed 35.6 million, then 38.3 million in 2018 and 39.9 million in 2019.

However, the number of visitors dropped to 6.7 millions in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions and border closures.