Travel in Thailand with free travel insurance?

By | Category: Travel rumblings
map of Thailand

Could Thailand offer free travel insurance to visitors?

Today, the Bangkok Post is reporting that the Thai government is considering offering free travel insurance to visitors.

The newspaper says that the finance, tourism and sports ministries are considering offering travel insurance to foreign tourists in a bid to boost tourism and, by inference, the economy since tourism accounts for about 10% of the country’s GDP.

But is this likely and how would it be financed? The budget to fund the travel insurance scheme may come from the Thailand Tourism Promotion Fund or the Foreign Ministry’s budget for immigration checks says the Bangkok Post and the central budget may be used to support any shortfall.

It quotes the director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office as the source of the information and says that the Fiscal Policy Office has also floated the idea of a new tax break for domestic tourists as well.

What sort of travel insurance is being considered? That isn’t made clear but it can be assumed that it would have to cover at least basic medical care (similar to our EHIC card in Europe perhaps?) and restitution of monies/credit cards/ belongings if a robbery or mugging took place. It is unlikely to cover international travel insurance but might include domestic travel if people were delayed and missed connections through no fault of their own.

If Thailand were to introduce such a policy then would it be copied elsewhere? After all, tour operators have offered free insurance very occasionally preferring to give free child places and other comparatively inexpensive perks. But for a country or destination to go this far must have a knock-on effect at least on its neighbours. Would Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and China follow suit?

And why should it be limited to the Far East?

Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt have all had downturns in tourism. Would they consider free travel insurance to stimulate interest in their countries? Could the provision of insurance negate the worries of tour operators which suspend travel to countries because the Foreign Office advice is not to travel there?

If Thailand goes ahead with such a scheme, then it could be the beginning of a bright spot for all travellers as the savings on a two-week holiday there could be considerable – always providing that British travel insurance companies dropped their rates or developed new policies for just the international travel part of the holiday.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , ,