After the recent announcement that authorities are considering introducing a 500 baht for all foreigners entering Thailand it has now been estimated that over one hundred thousand foreign nationals are on overstay in Thailand.
According to a report in the Bangkok post there have been discussions between the Ministry of Tourism and sports, the Royal Thai police and the Ministry of Public Health who all agree on the introduction of the five hundred baht fee, that they feel will attract a better quality of tourist to Thailand and will help combat the problem of foreigners staying illegally in the country after their visa’s have expired.
Mr Pradit Sintavanarong, Minister for Public Health said “Now is the time for us to have quality tourists. It’s not as if inbound tour operators won’t organize tours for foreign tourists to come to the country because of the entry fees.” The Thai Immigration Bureau say the money will also be used to provide additional funding for the government departments responsible for foreign affairs, health and tourism, although the tourism industry hasn’t exactly responded favorably to the new ideas. Sitdiwat Cheevarattanaporn, chairman of the Thai Travel Agents said the move could be harmful to what is a very lucrative holiday market.
Tourism has boomed in Thailand since the country first became a haven for backpackers in the 1970’s. According to the government, visitor figures for 2013 are set to be highest on record, with the number of current arrivals suggesting that tourism is already up more than 20% from 2012.
According to the Thai government, ‘illegal overt-staying’ poses genuine and significant problems for the authorities, who estimate that more than 100,000 foreigners are residing in Thailand on expired visas. Currently those caught by the authorities staying in Thailand after their visas have expired can expect to be charged five hundred baht for each day of their overstay up to a maximum of twenty thousand baht. More severe punishments include deportation, a jail sentence and being blacklisted from entering the country ever again, however these measures are rarely taken.Stay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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