Revenue target hiked for foreign film crews

International film crews in Thailand could generate 3.2-3.5 billion in revenue, according to the Tourism Department’s latest target, after the introduction of an additional 5% incentive to lure more big productions to the country.

The Tourism Department has increased its revenue target from foreign film crews to 3.2-3.5 billion baht after launching incentives for big productions in the hope of returning to pre-pandemic levels by next year.

“Even though the pandemic poses an obstacle for film shoots, foreign film productions still opt for Thailand as a location,” said Anan Wongbenjarat, director-general of the department.

As of Aug 31, the country had welcomed 57 international film crews, compared with 141 productions during the same period last year. However, the investment budget increased to 2.93 billion baht this year from 698 million during the same period last year.

Mr Anan said there was a higher level of investment due to additional incentives of 5% — implemented this year — to productions that invest more than 100 million baht in the country.

Film productions can receive a total of 20% in incentives, of which 15% comes from investing over 50 million baht, another 3% if they hire locals for the main positions on film sets and the remaining 2% from promoting Thai tourism.

From January to September, film productions from the US generated the most revenue to the country at 2.38 billion baht, followed by Hong Kong (286 million baht) and Singapore (225 million baht).

Mr Anan said the country has welcomed more productions from streaming platforms that have a high investment budget and this target has grown significantly amid the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the film Kate — which aired on Netflix’s streaming service on Sept 10 — invested 427 million baht during the time spent shooting in Thailand. Some 91.6% of this movie, accounting for 173 scenes out of 189 in total, were shot in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nakhon Pathom.

As the incentives for big productions will remain until next year, while the country pushes ahead with its reopening plan, revenue from film productions is expected to reach the record level of 4.86 billion baht as recorded in 2019, he said.

The reduction in the quarantine period and ongoing reopening plan will attract more international crews next year as filming schedules require more than six months for advanced planning.

He said some international film crews had cancelled their trips but this was due to technical issues in production rather than the recent Covid-19 outbreak as the department has enforced guidelines for foreign film productions to ensure their safety.

Thailand still has three film productions taking place in September, generating 357 million baht, and another 5-6 productions during the fourth quarter.