Compulsory travel insurance for foreign visitors at a 20-baht premium each is expected to debut this year.
(Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) of Thailand is planning to introduce compulsory travel insurance for foreign visitors at a 20 THB (0.65 USD) premium each in 2019.

The scheme is initiated to enhance foreigners’ confidence after a string of tragedies involving foreign tourists, such as the boat accident off Phuket that claimed the lives of 47 Chinese in 2018.

Foreign travellers will be required to pay for the insurance at airports’ immigration offices, while the premium will be directed to Thailand’s Tourism Promotion Fund for coverage of payments in the event of claims.

The compulsory travel insurance will offer up to 1 million THB of coverage in cases of death.

The scheme will have to seek approval for the Tourism and Sports Ministry before being presented to the cabinet later.

Tourism is a major source of revenue for Thailand, worth about one fifth of the economy. Meanwhile, earnings from foreign tourists contribute some 12 percent to the GDP.

The Chinese market is the biggest for Thai tourism, making up nearly 10 million visitors of the overall 38 million international arrivals last year.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has cut its estimate for the number of international travellers this year to 40.2 million, far short of the 41.1 to 41.3 million that it targeted early the year.

It also lowered forecast for growth of tourism revenue from 10 percent to 9.5 percent due to global slowdown, strong baht, and rising fuel prices.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that tourism revenue is anticipated to fall from previously forecast 3.4 trillion THB to 3.38 trillion THB, with earning from foreign visitors at 2.21 trillion THB this year. The TAT targets 3.72 trillion THB in tourism revenue in 2020, a year-on-year surge of 10 percent.-VNA