THAILAND has launched a health insurance scheme of up to 238 million to tourists in case of accidents. The scheme, which was launched on February 14, was created as an effort to lure foreign tourists back after the pandemic. The Thai government wants to ensure that visitors will be well served while they are in the kingdom.

The Thai government will cover costs of up to THB500,000 or IDR219 million and pay compensation of up to THB one million or IDR438 million in the event of death under the new scheme. The ministry has set aside 50 million baht or around IDR22 billion to fund the scheme.

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have had a detrimental impact on Thailand’s tourism sector. After the pandemic passed, the number of tourist arrivals has not recovered as quickly as expected. Tourism Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said that Thailand’s new Tourist Security scheme started on January 1 and will last until August 31.

“This campaign aims to reassure foreign tourists that Thailand is safe and everyone will be well looked after,” he said.

The Thai government will provide compensation on a case-by-case basis during their travel in Thailand between January 1 and August 31 2024. For example, if there is permanent organ loss, vision loss, or permanent disability, the compensation is THB300,000 or around IDR131.4 million.

Medical compensation will not be provided if the incident was caused by the foreign tourist’s carelessness, such as taking part in illegal activities or risky behavior. Foreign tourists can claim medical expenses within 15 days of the incident and compensation is expected to be paid 15 days after.

To apply for protection, foreign tourists can submit documents at the provincial tourism and sports office, or the tourist assistance center located at Bangkok airport. Travelers can also apply via email.

Thailand is one of the largest tourist destinations in the world. About 28 million people visited Thailand in 2023, up from 11 million the previous year, but still down from 40 million in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

According to Thai government data, foreign tourist arrivals as of February 11 amounted to 4.3 million. This country is targeting 35 million foreign tourists by 2024. The Thailand Ministry of Tourism has set a revenue target for 2024 of THB3.5 trillion or around IDR1,533 trillion from these 35 million tourists. [sources/photo special]