2024年2月27日火曜日

LAUNCHES MEDICAL COVERAGE SCHEME FOR TOURISTS UNDER NEW CAMPAIGN - THAILAND

LAUNCHES MEDICAL COVERAGE SCHEME FOR TOURISTS UNDER NEW CAMPAIGN - THAILAND

@Jackie San

BANGKOK – Foreign tourists
will receive medical coverage of up to 500,000 baht (S$18,600) in case of accidents in Thailand, and compensation of up to 1 million baht in the event of death under the government’s new campaign to assure tourists of their safety when travelling in Thailand.


The campaign aims to assure foreign tourists that they will be properly taken care of while they are in the kingdom, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said at the launch of the campaign on Feb 14. It’s a collaboration between Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry, and Public Health Ministry. 


Explaining that the campaign’s goal is to strengthen the positive image of Thailand as a global vacation destination, she said the ministry had set aside 50 million baht to fund the scheme. The money will come from the ministry’s budget for emergency expenses and will be used to compensate foreign tourists on a case-by-case basis during their travel in Thailand between Jan 1 and Aug 31 in 2024, she said.


The maximum coverage is 1 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 covered according to the amount actually paid, but not exceeding 500,000 baht.


Tourists will not be eligible for the coverage if the incidents stem from their carelessness, intention to take part in any illegal activity, or risky behaviour.


To apply for the coverage, foreigners holding a tourist visa can submit documents at the provincial tourism and sports offices, or at tourist assistance centres located in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Applications can also be submitted via post and e-mail.


Ms Sudawan said the ministry believed that the campaign would help boost revenue from tourism. She added that foreign arrivals as of Feb 11 totalled 4.3 million, putting the country on track to achieve its target of 35 million foreign tourists in 2024.


The ministry has set a revenue target of 2024 at 3.5 trillion baht from these 35 million foreign tourists and some 205 million trips made by Thai tourists.


The insurance programme would cover a gap period as the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund was dissolved two years ago, and a new tourism fee had earlier been expected to be collected for tourism insurance and to develop attractions. Under the other scheme, foreign arrivals by air were meant to be charged 300 baht while those coming by sea and land would be charged 150 baht. The scheme, however, was postponed indefinitely.


Ms Sudawan insisted that the ministry did not plan to cancel the 300-baht landing fee, although it would not be implemented in the immediate future, as the tourism market had only just recovered from the impact of Covid-19. The ministry wanted to focus on increasing arrival numbers and tourism spending first.


The ministry’s deputy permanent secretary Mongkon Wimonrat added that the ministry will use its Thailand Traveller Safety (TTS) platform to facilitate the disbursement of insurance coverage to foreign tourists. The platform offers online registration for non-Thai residents with tourist visas.


Mr Mongkon said 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, which will help speed up the disbursement process.


Tourists can claim medical expenses within 15 days of the incident and compensation is expected to be paid 15 days after that, he said. 


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