Thailand has long been recognised as one of the world's most popular destinations for the rich and famous. Only a few weeks ago, world famous reality stars including Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner were spotted in Phuket while filming the latest series of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
To sustain Thailand's popularity with such famous names, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports' Department of Tourism (DOT) have introduced a range of new incentives to attract international filmmakers to the country.
"We are offering a one-stop service to make it easier for international film makers to shoot their films in Thailand. We are also organising several roadshows overseas to raise the profile of the Kingdom as a country with the readiness, skills and expertise to help film makers," DOT's director Khun Ubolwan Sucharitaku said. "We want to show how Thailand truly is one of the best locations in the world to make movies and to encourage more movie making, so we are offering incentives such as tax exemptions for foreign movie actors who star in films shot in the Kingdom," she added.
To ensure the new initiatives are a success, the DOT is collaborating with public and private organisations including the Customs Department, the Department of Employment, the Department of Fine Arts, the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, the Thai Film Board and the Foreign Film Executives Association. Together these organisations will help the process of permits and permissions needed for film making to be streamlined. The DOT have also planned a series of training seminars to educate local film crew co-ordinators about working with foreign film crews, as well as pre- and post-shooting techniques.
Last year, a total of 269 film crew co-ordinators made their way to Thailand and some 71 have already approached the DOT with enquiries about shooting films in Thailand this year.
"International film production in Thailand both directly and indirectly helps to showcase the Kingdom as one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and attracts visitors who might want to experience the film location themselves," said Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). "Following the release of the hit Chinese movie, Lost in Thailand, which was filmed in Chiang Mai, many Chinese travellers came to Thailand to see the film location," he added.
Meanwhile, one of the latest Hollywood blockbusters to be filmed in the Kingdom was The Coup, partially filmed in the northern city of Chiang Mai. The film stars Hollywood A-listers Pierce Brosnan and Owen Wilson.
by MAX VEE