Government lures wealthy tourists to free Thailand from middle income trap

Officials are seeking to draw in high-spending foreigners from Europe, Japan, and South Korea 

The plan intends to lure more than one million wealthy foreign tourists and investors into the new S-Curve industries. Source: Smilepoker/Shutterstock

As reported in Bangkok Post, Thailand’s government has set out a “proactive economic plan” intended to lure more than one million wealthy foreign tourists and investors into the new S-Curve industries as part of their attempt to free the nation from the middle-income trap.  

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said that a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) approved a plan to promote investment and tourism for a post-pandemic economic recovery.  

Agencies have been given one month to present details of the plan before the next meeting of the CESA. 

“When the meeting endorses the details, state agencies will step up efforts to attract a first investor by June, with an aim of promoting investment, tourism and stimulate domestic consumption,” he said, adding the government has set a target of four percent economic growth for this year and next year. 

Government officials are seeking to adjust property rules to ease home buying in Thailand for foreigners to help draw in more retirees. This would be a game-changer for the Thai property market.  

In efforts to lure investors to establish offices in Thailand, corporate income tax will be reduced while immigration process and applications for visas and work permits for industry experts will be refined. 

According to ML Chayotid Kridakon, a CESA advisor, officials are looking to draw in affluent Europeans, including high-spending foreigners from Japan and South Korea to settle down their retirement in Thailand.  

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He told the Bangkok Post, “There are about 200 million of them around the world and we have set a target of drawing one million to Thailand each year… These people earn about THB300,000 to 400,000 (USD9,554 to 12,739) a month. If one million of them are here in Thailand and spend about 100,000 a month each, Thailand will get about THB1.2 trillion a year from them.”  

Thailand is currently in a middle-income trap with slow economic development.  

At a CESA meeting, Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow said that if the “proactive economic plan” goes well, it should spike economic growth and free Thailand from the middle-income trap within the next six to seven years.