Filmmakers seek to cash in on cave drama

The bicycles of 12 footballers and their coach parked in front of Tham Laung Cave, before they were trapped there by flash floods. SAIARUN PINADUANG

Hollywood and local filmmakers have expressed their intention to use Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai as a location to film, says Anan Wongbenjarat, director-general of the Tourism Department.

Mr Anan said US movie companies have sent inspection teams to visit Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave and other places in Chiang Rai province.

The cave has captured global headlines after 12 young footballers and a coach were trapped there for 17 days before dramatic rescue efforts by local and international teams ended in triumph on Tuesday.

Mr Anan said foreign filmmakers have shown interest in shooting adventure flicks or dramas there.

He said these filmmakers will likely come to the department soon and ask for support.

Mr Anan said some local film and documentary companies have already contacted the department and proposed their filming plans.

"Tham Luang cave has captured local and global attention over the last two weeks. Half a dozen movie companies from here and abroad want to use the cave as a filming location. But they'll have to wait until the cave is reopened to the public," he said.

The department is offers filmmakers a rebate of 15 to 20% of expenses if they spend at least 50 million baht shooting in Thailand.

Last year, 810 international movies and documentaries were shot in Thailand, spending 3 billion baht.

China made the highest number, followed by Japan and India.

During the first half, the department granted foreigners the right to shoot 400 movies and documentaries.

Mr Anan said the department would work with organisations in Chiang Rai to promote Tham Luang as a new travel destination.

The department is planning to build a tourist centre at Tham Luang, which will feature the story of the Wild Boar football team and related rescue efforts.

The department will also work with local agencies to improve facilities, accessibility and internet connectivity.

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