January 10, 2011
Bangkok, Thailand – A total of 578 foreign productions were filmed in Thailand last year, earning 1.8 billion baht (US$60 million) for the country. The figure doubles the 900 million baht (US$30 million) earned in 2009, Thailand’s Department of Tourism reported. According to statistics from the Thailand Film Office, India and Japan sent the most production teams to shoot in Thailand, followed closely by European and Korean productions. TVCs made up the bulk of foreign productions in Thailand (44.12 percent), followed by documentaries (30.79 percent). Music videos made up 8.65 percent of productions, while feature films and TV series accounted for 8.48 percent and 7.96 percent respectively. Wanasiri Morajul, director of the Thailand Film Office, said despite a stronger baht sending production costs slightly higher, other factors contributed to Thailand’s popularity as a filming location. “Foreign filmmakers consistently note the availability of top quality equipment, exotic locations, and multilingual/cultural Thai crews [who] work extremely hard,” she said. According to Department of Tourism Director-General Supol Sripan, Thailand’s film industry will likely see additional growth in 2011, boosted by recent incentives approved by the Thai government. The Cabinet recently passed a bill on the exemption of film shooting fees in areas owned by seven state offices: the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Department of Fine Arts, the State Railway of Thailand, the Treasury Department, the Royal Forest Department, the Royal Irrigation Department and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Both local and foreign film production outfits are eligible for the incentive. The Cabinet has also approved additional incentives which are under review by the Revenue Department. “We hope additional growth will come from roadshows in Europe and Russia later in 2011 and also an inbound roadshow of top studios, producers and location coordinators that will spread the word about Thailand’s industry,” Morakul said.