Thailand missing its chance to go ahead of Malaysia and Vietnam as a film location

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down film production across the globe with studios in the United States and Europe closed because of government introduced lock down.

As a result, studios in Hollywood, the United Kingdom and France are increasingly looking to Asia as locations for productions.

Thailand, with its mature production services industries and its successful response to Covid-19, has the infrastructure necessary to accommodate large scale movie productions.

The country has, in the past, already served as stand-ins for other locations around the world. Most recently, Thailand was used as a stand-in for Bangladesh in the Chris Hemsworth film Extraction.

Vietnam and Malaysia are also being considered by directors and producers in the west as possible filming locations amid the coronavirus pandemic due to its successful government response.

Both countries, especially Malaysia, have courted Hollywood by passing beneficial and friendly tax rebate and tax exemption schemes for Hollywood productions to come and film in their respective countries.

However, Thailand still lags far behind both in terms of the tax schemes offered and also the government initiative to court foreign productions.

Thailand’s government under the current administration has not made courting filmmakers a priority before the demand went up during the pandemic.

Filmmakers and producers coming into Thailand have voiced concerns about legal loopholes authorities have used in the past to extort and tax productions.

The government also doesn’t understand the opportunity that one-hundred million dollar productions presents unlike their Malaysian counterparts who under former Prime Minister Najib Razak passed legislation after legislation to court foreign productions.

At a time when the economy has tanked due to low tourism numbers and the after-effects of the coronavirus lockdown, lucrative Hollywood productions could go a long way in filling that gap.

But unless the government begins to address the concerns producers have when it comes to tax law and tax rebate schemes, Thailand will not be able to capitalize on the interests from Hollywood.

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