Strict entry rules imposed to curb the pandemic hit Thailand’s crucial tourism industry last year, contributing to the economy’s worst performance in more than 20 years.
The new 300 baht ($ 9) charge will be incorporated into airfares, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement.
Before the pandemic, nearly 40 million visitors a year flocked to Thailand, but the kingdom hopes to renew its tourism strategy with a greater focus on sustainability.
“The proceeds will be used for insurance coverage of foreign tourists and the improvement of infrastructure for sustainable tourism,” the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, told AFP.
Tourism revenue is forecast between $ 39 billion and $ 54 billion this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, of which about $ 24 billion is expected from foreign travelers.
Some 5 million foreign tourists are expected to enter the kingdom in 2022 if current travel patterns remain the same, according to the ministry’s forecast, up from nearly 40 million the year before the pandemic.
But the count could rise to 15 million visitors if arrivals from China, India and neighboring countries improve.
Thailand relaxed its entry rules towards the end of 2021 as it sought to restart tourism, but changed regulations again as cases of the Omicron variant emerged around the world.
Authorities have extended the suspension of a “test and play” scheme without quarantine until further notice.
But they have also expanded the “Sandbox” scheme, adding three southern beach destinations to the island of Phuket.
Under the program, fully vaccinated travelers spend seven nights in the litter box area and can then move to another location in Thailand, assuming they test negative for covid.
A mandatory 10-14 day quarantine period applies for those who are not fully punctured.
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