The Tourism Council of Thailand plans to allocate a tourism fund, garnered from fees collected from foreign visitors, predominantly for the improvement of the tourism sector by state agencies. The fund, according to Surawat Akaraworamat, the Vice-President of the Tourism Council, is being prepared for implementation as soon as the government greenlights the project.
Three subcommittees have been working relentlessly to put the final touches to the project, which includes fee collection, fund management, and tourist insurance.
Regulations regarding the collection and disbursement of the fund were deliberated upon this month by the fund management panel. The Office of the Council of State and the Comptroller-General’s Department shared the responsibility of drafting these regulations, which are now ready to be published in the Royal Gazette, according to Surawat.
The fund is expected to accumulate 300 baht from air arrivals and 150 baht from land or sea arrivals. A fraction of this fee, approximately 60 baht, will be set aside for tourist insurance, offering medical coverage for ailments like diarrhoea and compensation for unfortunate incidents leading to injury or death.
Despite suggestions from several tourism operators that the fund should be accessible as soft loans during crises, Surawat stated that the Tourism Policy Act might not permit such utilisation. However, in the event of future crises, government agencies could potentially allocate funds from the tourism fund as subsidies or loans to bolster the private sector.
Surawat also highlighted that the fund committee would require cabinet authorisation to perform such an action. He emphasised the essentiality of a tourism fund for Thailand, especially since the dissolution of the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund almost two years ago.
“With billions of baht in revenue every year, we can increase confidence in our tourism with a proper protection scheme and generate enough budget to help improve the competitiveness of the industry.”
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