Film shoots to tally B1.7bn
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, international film crews still want to shoot in Thailand, and are expected to bring in 1.7 billion baht for the economy.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said the arrival of film crews and three other groups in August will be a test run for the country before leisure tourists are welcomed back again in September.
"The decision to reopen borders to international tourists will depend on the situation after the country welcomes the first four groups of foreigners in August," he said.
On Wednesday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced it will allow foreigners including film crews, medical tourists, Thailand Elite card members and exhibitors to enter. The cabinet has to approve the move next week.
All of them must pass numerous screening procedures, such as a 14-day quarantine in alternative state quarantine accommodation (ASQ) and taking Covid-19 tests.
Mr Phiphat said seven international film productions requested to film in the country between September 2020 to April 2021.
The Tourism Department, responsible for licensing international film productions, estimated the shoots will generate 1.7 billion baht. The expenditure consists of the cost of hiring local staff (about 1,100 persons), accommodation, transport, food, location rental fees and film equipment rental fees.
A Korean film crew has agreed to a 14-day quarantine at ASQ accommodation in Rayong province. The shooting location will be in Chon Buri.
Other production teams are mulling Thailand's regulations before deciding.
Last year Thailand set a record with 740 film productions, raking in 4.86 billion baht. From January to February this year, there were 106 international productions generating 487 million baht.
Mr Phiphat said 200 members of the Thailand Elite Card scheme are set to visit next month.
Medical tourists who finished their 14-day quarantine period can also travel in the country, using eight routes on a medical and wellness programme.
In terms of foreign exhibitors, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is in charge of this group, which can start returning in September.
The first batch comprising 600 exhibitors under special arrangements from Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore will participate in Thaifex, Thailand's international food exhibition, down from 25,000 exhibitors last year, said Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, the TCEB president.
He said foreign exhibitors are expected to spend 300,000-400,000 baht per head over 20 days, more than 74,000 baht per head last year, as part of the two-week quarantine.