Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand will collect a 300-baht (9 USD) entry fee from foreign tourists from April to develop destinations and pay accident insurance for foreigners who cannot afford the cost themselves.

According to head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn, the fee adds to a list of requirements for foreign tourists seeking entry to Thailand, which include pre-payment for COVID-19 tests, hotel accommodation or quarantine, and having insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least 50,000 USD. The funds will also be used to upgrade tourism infrastructure, he added.

The new fee will be priced in with airline tickets and is part of the government's sustainable tourism plans, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.

Thailand expects between 5 and 15 million foreign arrivals this year, depending on policies in place in its main tourism markets, Thanakorn said.

Foreign tourists are expected to generate 800 billion Thai baht (23.97 billion USD) this year, he said.

Thailand, one of Asia's most popular travel destinations, has been badly hit by a pandemic-induced tourism slump, with about 200,000 arrivals last year, compared to nearly 40 million in 2019.

Recent efforts to revive the sector have been complicated by the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. On January 7, Thailand indefinitely extended the suspension of the "Test & Go" scheme for aviation visitors./.