Global Markets

Thailand launches $18,600 medical insurance scheme for each tourist going to Thailand

Foreign tourists will be provided with medical insurance of up to 500,000 baht (S$18,600) for accidents in Thailand, as well as compensation of up to one million baht in the event of death, as part of the government’s new initiative to ensure the safety of tourists in the country.

The initiative, launched on Feb 14, aims to guarantee foreign visitors that they will be well looked after during their stay in Thailand, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol. This initiative is a joint effort between Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry and Public Health Ministry.

The minister explained that the main objective of the initiative is to enhance Thailand’s positive reputation as a top global tourist destination. The Tourism and Sports Ministry has allocated 50 million baht from its emergency budget to support this program.

Funds for the initiative will be used to compensate foreign tourists on an individual basis during their travels in Thailand from Jan 1 to Aug 31, 2024. The coverage includes up to one million baht per person in case of death, and 300,000 baht per person for permanent organ loss, loss of sight, or permanent disability. Medical expenses will be reimbursed based on the actual amount paid, not exceeding 500,000 baht.

Tourists will not qualify for coverage if the incidents result from their negligence, involvement in illegal activities, or risky behavior.

Foreigners with tourist visas can apply for coverage by submitting documents at provincial tourism and sports offices, or at tourist assistance centers in Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok. Applications can also be sent by mail or email.

According to Ms Sudawan, the ministry is confident that the campaign will contribute to an increase in tourism revenue. She also mentioned that as of February 11, there have been a total of 4.3 million foreign arrivals, indicating that the country is on track to achieve its goal of attracting 35 million foreign tourists by 2024.

In order to achieve the revenue target of 3.5 trillion baht by 2024, the ministry plans to rely on the 35 million foreign tourists as well as the 205 million trips made by Thai tourists.

The introduction of the insurance program is intended to fill the gap left by the dissolution of the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund two years ago. Initially, it was expected that a tourism fee would be collected to fund the insurance program and the development of tourist attractions. However, the implementation of this scheme has been indefinitely postponed.

Despite this, Ms Sudawan emphasized that the ministry has no intention of canceling the 300 baht landing fee. However, it will not be implemented in the near future as the tourism market is still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry’s priority is to focus on increasing the number of arrivals and tourism spending.

To facilitate the distribution of insurance coverage to foreign tourists, the ministry will utilize the Thailand Traveller Safety (TTS) platform. This platform allows non-Thai residents with tourist visas to register online. The TTS database, which collects data with the consent of providers, can be accessed by Thailand’s Tourist Police Bureau and National Institute for Emergency Medicine, enabling a faster disbursement process.

Tourists will be able to claim medical expenses within 15 days of an incident, and compensation is expected to be paid 15 days after that, according to Mr Mongkon, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary.

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