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Is Thailand to introduce tourist tax?

There has been much talk recently regarding recovering medical bills from tourists who are treated here in the UK, but the problem seems to be affecting the increasingly popular venue of Thailand.

It is currently free to enter to the country, but Thai authorities have said they are now considering introducing a fee of around £10 per head. Apparently many tourists are having medical treatment and leaving bills unpaid and this proposed tax is being introduced to pay for visitors’ unpaid medical bills and in the hope of attracting a better “quality” of holidaymaker, according to a spokesman acting on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Public Health and the Royal Thai Police.

A spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand however, stressed that the proposed tax, which would apply to holidays lasting longer than three days, was just one of “several ideas” being considered. Thailand had around 22million tourists visit the country in 2012 and the number is expected to grow, the measures are being introduced in part to ensure that visitors are unable to outstay their visa. It is reported that about 100,000 foreigners are currently staying on in the country despite their visas having expired. Another measure that is being considered is that all tourists should have of compulsory travel insurance proposed to help resolve the problem of unpaid hospital bills. The proposed new tax could be introduced from January next year.

Picture: Mikhail Koninin

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