Perks boost film shooting revenue

Perks boost film shooting revenue

Cash rebates lure more foreign crews

Tourists throng the famous Uttamanusorn Bridge, known locally as Saphan Mon, in Sangkhla Buri district of Kanchanaburi on Dec 31, 2023. Cash rebate incentives for foreign film crews helped Thailand boost revenue from film shoots by 40% to 6.6 billion baht last year, according to Tourism Department. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Tourists throng the famous Uttamanusorn Bridge, known locally as Saphan Mon, in Sangkhla Buri district of Kanchanaburi on Dec 31, 2023. Cash rebate incentives for foreign film crews helped Thailand boost revenue from film shoots by 40% to 6.6 billion baht last year, according to Tourism Department. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)

Cash rebate incentives for foreign film crews helped Thailand boost revenue from film shoots by 40% to 6.6 billion baht last year, while the Tourism Department aims to attract more blockbusters to Thailand this year.

Jaturon Phakdeewanit, director-general of the department, said over 466 films were shot in Thailand in 2023, generating over 6.6 billion baht, a new record high after posting 4.66 billion baht in 2022 from 346 film shoots.

He said the surplus of around 1.93 billion baht was mainly driven by films that had a budget of over 100 million baht, including a large-scale blockbuster with a 3-billion-baht budget.

Given this success, the department is maintaining the strategy of attracting major productions to the country, which will help spur higher spending within the local supply chain, said Mr Jaturon.

He said revenue from film locations should grow by at least 5% to 6.9 billion baht this year.

He said the target is reachable as Thailand had gained interest from many filmmakers from the UK, Hong Kong, China and Europe, and the department would support more film roadshows to these markets.

With more countries in Southeast Asia competing for foreign film crews, Mr Jaturon said Thailand is still the preferred destination for a wide range of unique locations, from cities to temples and beaches, equipped with professional crews, production teams and affordable prices.

Some companies are studying opportunities to invest or build new film studios in Thailand to accommodate growing demand.

At present, only one world-class studio in Thailand is capable of accommodating billion-baht shoots with cutting-edge equipment and spacious shooting areas, while the remaining 4-5 studios have smaller shooting spaces.

The department also offers a cash rebate of 15% as an incentive for film shoots that spend more than 50 million baht locally. Together with other criteria, a film can receive up to a 20% cash rebate.

The other criteria include 5% for any film that has a budget of more than 150 million baht, which was revised up from 100 million baht during the pandemic, 3% each for employing Thais as key personnel in the team and choosing second-tier cities, while another 2% will be given to films that do post-production in Thailand.

Films that contain soft power and tourism promotions can receive an additional 5% cash rebate, as the government started using this criteria in 2021, said Mr Jaturon.

Of the 466 film productions in Thailand last year, those from the US generated the highest revenue at 3.1 billion baht, followed by Hong Kong at 707 million baht and China at 471 million baht. Teams from 40 countries chose Thailand as a shooting location.

Bangkok secured the most film crews at 282, followed by Chon Buri and Samut Prakarn at 77 and 60 productions, respectively.

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