Tourists arriving in Thailand may soon have to pay an entry fee of Rs 1,000 and also a higher departure tax as authorities in the country are planning to introduce a new service tax for foreigners at airports and land border crossings.
The Airports of Thailand (AoT) wants to raise the airport departure tax for both domestic and international passengers by 100 baht or Rs 200, AoT Chairman Sita Divari said here.
The departure tax for domestic flights would rise from 100 baht to 200 baht, and from 700 baht to 800 baht for international flights, Sita said.
The increase still needs final approval from aviation and transport authorities.
The new fees would apply at all airports operated by AoT when approved.
The taxes comes on top of a recent government proposal to charge foreigners a new arrival tax at airports and land border crossings.
This, the government thinks, will offset the costs of state hospitals treating tourists who have accidents or fall ill and have no insurance cover.
On Sunday, Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the government is considering a plan to charge foreigners a 500-baht (Rs 1000) entry fee from January next year.
He claimed the extra charge would lead to an improvement in the quality of tourists entering Thailand.
Foreigners who arrive at airports would be charged 500 baht while those who enter the country by land would be charged 30 baht a day.
The foreigner-entry charge has been widely criticised on web forums, by tour operators and people working in the hospitality industry.
According to the AoT, passenger traffic through Thailand's six main airports climbed 20.4 per cent from the previous year to 86.13 million travellers, both domestic and international.
The number of flights through these airports increased by 16.5 per cent to 559,397 during the same period.
Suvarnabhumi, the country's gateway airport, continued to dominate traffic volume with 50.90 million passengers and 287,997 flights, accounting for 59 per cent of overall passenger numbers and 51.5 per cent of all take-offs and landings.
It was followed by Bangkok's second airport Don Mueang, which largely serves discount airlines, with 15.