Travel agents urge state to defer new fees
Tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport on the first day of the campaign to reopen the country on November 1. (Photo Reuters)
A new tax to be imposed on international tourists is expected to be postponed until the travel industry fully recovers, as the country faces headwinds during this peak season, according to the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta ).
Atta chairman Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said that since Thailand reopened on November 1, there had been an average of 3,000 to 4,000 international tourists per day. However, the confidence of the tourism market is not strong as many countries in Europe, the main target of this high season, are facing a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
Meanwhile, the mandatory on-arrival RT-PCR test, which is always priced differently than in origin countries such as India, which costs only 250-400 baht, could deter tourists as many countries are stepping up their own tourism stimulus packages by relaxing entry restrictions for inbound travelers.
Atta General Secretary Adith Chairattananon said the fees for the Tourism Transformation Fund, which the Tourism and Sports Ministry would like to start collecting next year, should be implemented when international markets are higher. stable.
Tourism operators also want the government to clarify the fund’s objectives and management mechanisms, such as who will benefit from the fund and what types of tourism project development are the main targets for financial assistance.
Mr. Adith also suggested that the government establish a budget early on and ensure the transparency of the project by including the private sector in the fund committee.
He said that after a month of reopening, most Thai tour operators had not benefited from the program because entry rules only require hotel operators to handle airport transfers and provide Covid-19 testing and accommodation.
However, the Ministry of Tourism has already requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to include tour operators in the Thailand Pass system to give travelers more choice, as operators can help facilitate tourists during their entry process to the airport to hotels.
Mr Adith said the tour operators also have a strong customer base and networks abroad, which could help tourists facing inconvenience during their requests or entry process.
The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration will today consider further relaxation of the second phase of reopening from December 1, which could replace RT-PCR tests with antigen test kits for arrivals.