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Published on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Thailand considers compulsory travel insurance for all tourists

Thai tourism officials are again pushing for mandatory travel insurance for inbound tourists to cut losses of about $123 million due to unpaid medical bills.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is mulling whether to introduce a compulsory scheme for foreign travellers, Jaturon Phakdeewanit, director of the Tourism Safety and Security Standards said.

"We need to push this through as soon as possible because the problem is becoming more serious," he said.

As tourism numbers have surged, a growing number of uninsured tourists get into mishaps and can't afford to pay for medical treatment, while many seemingly leave hospital without paying.

Previous attempts have stalled over the challenges of implementation and the best way to check that arriving passengers have valid insurance before being admitted.

Insurance documents would likely be inspected by immigration officers upon arrival, as many visitors do not need a visa to enter the country, Jaturon said.

Any agreement would need to go before the cabinet for approval before being rolled out.

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