The cabinet of the Thai government on Tuesday approved a large increase of the country’s film production incentives.
Under the current scheme, first introduced in 2018, foreign productions can earn a 15% rebate on their location activities in the country. A further 5% rebate can be earned for those shoots that use a significant proportion of local crew, promote Thai culture and film in second-tier or lesser-known locations. The maximum rebate is capped at THB75 million ($2.25 million) per film.
Under the new scheme, the basic tier of rebate is increased to 20% while the bonus is doubled to 10%, making a potential total subsidy of 30% of the production spend in Thailand. The maximum rebate allowed also rises to THB150 million ($4.50 million).
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said that the changes had been recommended by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The cabinet agreed the plan because other countries in the region now offer more generous subsidy schemes and that there was a need to keep the Thai incentives competitive.
In October last year, Thailand introduced another measure to bring in foreign productions when the cabinet agreed to waive the personal income tax that it had claimed from foreign talent, for a period of five years.
Thailand has long been a hub for regional production, thanks to high skills levels, relatively low costs, available studio space and varied locations which in recent years have stood in for New York, India and other parts of Southeast Asia. Among notable recent productions in the country have been Netflix film “Extraction,” Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” Disney/Marvel’s “Ms Marvel” series, Apple TV+’s “Shantaram” and “The Meg 2.”
The government has previously said that revenues from foreign productions had averaged THB3.5 billion per year ($99.1 million) between 2017-2021. The figure crashed to less than THB400 million ($11.3 million) in 2021, due in large measure to COVID-related problems.
This week the government spokesperson pegged the figure at THB900 million to THB1.2 billion ($26.9 – $35.8 million).