Tourism officials in Thailand push for compulsory travel insurance
Tourism officials in Thailand are pushing forward with a proposal to require all visitors to obtain travel insurance before entering the country.
Officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are deliberating over the proposal raised in a meeting last week to make the insurance compulsory, said Jaturon Phakdeewanit, director of the Tourism Safety and Security Standards.
According to Jaturon, visitors without travel insurance have cost Thailand at least 3 billion baht (NZ$123 million) a year for their medical treatments at state hospitals.
"We need to push this through as soon as possible because the problem is becoming more serious," he said.
Government officials will be discussing with tourism operators about the best approach to implement the new rule, before submitting the proposal to the cabinet for approval, Jaturon said.
Travel insurance documents will likely be inspected at immigration counters upon arrival, as many visitors do not need visa to enter the country, he added.
Tourism is a major industry in Thailand, with more than 14 million people visiting the country since January 1, generating $US20.5 billion (NZ$28.7 billion) dollars in revenue.