Thai officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are said to be discussing the potential roll out of a new law that would make it compulsory for visitors to take out travel insurance before entering the country.
According to reports, the suggestion to alter inbound tourism requirements comes after visitors without insurance cost the Southeast Asian country nearly three billion baht or AU$117 million in medical treatments.
Tourism Safety and Security Standards Director Jaturon Phakdeewanit urged for the law to be pushed through “as soon as possible” before the “problem” becomes “more serious”.
If passed by government officials and the Thai cabinet, travellers will likely have to show their travel insurance papers to immigration staff at hte airport.
Travel insurance expert, John White from Allianz Worldwide Partners, said he isn’t surprised Thailand is looking to legalise travel insurance for tourists, particularly when you consider the popularity of the destination and the activities people undertake during their visit.
The Head of Distribution continued, explaining that last year the insurance provider received over 3,000 Thai-related claims, with over 30 percent relating to medical issues.
“The most common type of medical claim for visitors travelling to Thailand in 2016 was for hospital expenses and the country also ranked third in the most popular country for medical repatriations.”
John White, Allianz Worldwide Partners Head of Distribution
“Injury and illness whilst travelling can affect anyone of any age, anywhere in the world, yet our customers purchasing travel insurance in the last week of departure can be as high as 39 percent and those purchasing on the day before or on the day or departure is 19 percent.
“In some cases, travellers choose not to purchase it at all, running the gauntlet and leaving themselves open to potentially disastrous consequences, and a burden on the local economy.
“We encourage all travellers to carefully consider their coverage needs before they travel and read the Product Disclosure Statement.”