The Thai tourist authority this week announced its plan to subject all visitors to a premium charge to pay for travel insurance.
The sum per person would not be higher than 300 baht per visit which could bring in revenue as high as 12 billion baht annually if the number of visitors ever reaches the 40 million targeted by the government before the Coronavirus outbreak.
Details are sketchy at the moment but the fee, if approved by the Thai Cabinet, would likely be added to the cost of the air ticket as a supplement. Visitors by sea and land would likely have to pay at the border or port. A government spokesman spoke mainly of the threat posed by the virus and the need to reduce the problem of foreigners seeking medical treatment in Thailand without proper financial cover.
Travel insurance, of course, is far from comprehensive. Its purpose is to protect to some extent holidaymakers from cancellations, loss of personal belongings and emergency medical treatment. Few policyholders read the small print, but phrases such as “pre-existing condition” or “claiming against an unapproved medical condition” or “known event” can veto the claim. The bigger is the claim, the more intense the scrutiny by the policy brokers and issuers.