February 22, 2022
BANGKOK – Pipat responded after the opposition parties discussed this matter during a two-day general debate on February 17-18.
He said the fee would be collected even though it was a policy implemented before he took the reins of the ministry.
Pipat said the fee would be used to buy insurance for foreign travellers while the leftover will be added to the tourism development fund, which will be managed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry Of Tourism and Sports and representatives from 10 organisations.
He promised to ensure the funds would be spent appropriately, and could be scrutinised.
Pipat explained that the landing fee was collected after the Erawan Shrine bombing incident in 2015, which left many foreign travellers injured and the Budget Bureau had to compensate them.
In 2018, following a boat capsizing in Phuket, the ministry had to seek funds from the Budget Bureau.
However, the Budget Bureau informed the ministry in 2019 that it would not allocate funds for foreign travellers anymore, as a result the ministry had to collect the landing fee to have funds for cases where compensation had to be paid. The ministry had proposed this policy to the Cabinet in 2019.
Pipat added that the Ministry of Public Health had spent around 300 million baht from 2016 to 2018 to treat foreign travellers. If the ministry collects this fee to pay for the insurance, it would not have to seek a separate budget.