Mandatory travel insurance proposal received favourably – poll

Majority of voters, especially foreign visitors, said they supported the government’s proposal

Mandatory travel insurance proposal received favourably – poll

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The majority of the voters in an online poll have indicated support for the Thailand government’s proposal to make travel insurance mandatory for all tourists entering the country.

Currently, all foreign visitors to Thailand are entitled to receive free medical treatment in government hospitals for emergencies. In 2016, the government spent around THB420 million (US$12.4 million) covering the medical expenses of uninsured foreign tourists.

According to the online poll ran by Phuket News with the question: “Should travel insurance be made compulsory for visitors to Thailand?” more than half (56%) of the respondents said that all travellers must be required to purchase cover, and that the government should not shoulder their medical expenses.

Meanwhile, 30% of voters said that the system is good enough as it is, and that paying for travellers’ medical care is “the price of hosting tourists”.  Another 14% said that travel insurance should not be mandatory, but the government should not pay for tourists’ medical bills either.

It was also revealed that 64.8% of foreign visitors who answered the poll were in favour of making insurance mandatory, as well as 55.1% of local expatriate residents and 47.9% of Thai nationals.

This is not the first attempt Thailand has made to make travel insurance mandatory. In 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand worked with private insurers to create its own product, but it was not well-received by travellers. Last year, another proposal was forwarded, but the Tourism and Sports Ministry said that it lacked the manpower to supervise the growing number of tourists visiting the popular Southeast Asian destination.

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