The Tourism and Sports Ministry says a universal insurance plan for tourists may not be necessary as the compensation sum for healthcare in the past was much lower than the expenses anticipated for an expansive insurance plan.
Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund, which compensated tourists for health accidents in the past, only disbursed around 10 million baht per year.
After the fund was dissolved two years ago, the ministry proposed an initial budget of 50 million baht from the central budget to assist foreign tourists, said Ms Sudawan.
She said the budget was already acknowledged by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, and the ministry will propose it to the cabinet next week.
The coverage is a maximum of 500,000 baht per person in case of injury, and 1 million baht per person in the event of death.
If there is additional aid demand for more than the proposed 50 million baht, there will be further discussion on a case-by-case basis, said Ms Sudawan.
“There will not be an investment in tourist insurance, but instead a proposal from the central budget which the prime minister already acknowledged,” she said.
Regarding the 300-baht tourism fee, the scheme will be postponed indefinitely until the tourism industry significantly recovers.
Given several government tourism campaigns, collecting a 300-baht tourism fee may affect their travel sentiment, said Ms Sudawan.
Arrun Boonchai, permanent tourism and sports secretary, said the final draft of the tourism fee scheme is being verified before it is published in the Royal Gazette.
The ministry needs to ask the cabinet about the policy direction of this scheme again, he said.
Once it is published in the Royal Gazette, the scheme needs to be implemented within 90 days.
To create momentum for next year’s target of 35 million tourist arrivals, the ministry together with 12 authorities announced policies to ensure tourism safety and ease of travel during the New Year holiday.
Airports of Thailand Plc is preparing to waive parking fees for airport passengers during the New Year week, as well as expand automatic immigration channels for all nationalities.
The permanent tourism and sports secretary’s office prepared more than 240 staff across 17 tourism assistance centres for the campaign.
The Department of Provincial Administration is regulating tourism safety regarding the new law that allows licensed entertainment venues in tourism zones to close at 4am.