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Thai government plans to draw in rich foreigners to live in Thailand

Tanutam Thawan



Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow /Photo by the Thai Government

Say goodbye to the backpacker lifestyle of travelling through Thailand on a shoestring budget. The Thai government plans to lure rich, high spending foreigners with plans underway to reopen the country to foreign visitors.

The government plans to draw in at least 1 million high spending tourists – rich retirees who want to settle in Thailand and potential investors interested in the Thai-based S-Curve industries.

Officials are now looking into changing up the rules regarding property to make it easier for foreigners to buy homes in Thailand to help draw in more retirees (that would be a game-changer for the Thai property market).

To lure investors to set up offices in Thailand, corporate income tax will be reduced while improvements will be made to the immigration process and applications for visas and work permits for industry experts.

Thai officials are looking to lure high spending foreigners from European countries as well as Japan and South Korea to spend their retirement in Thailand, according to ML Chayotid Kridakon, who is one of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration advisors.

“There are about 200 million of them around the world and we have set a target of drawing one million to Thailand each year… These people earn about 300,000 to 400,000 baht a month. If one million of them are here in Thailand and spend about 100,000 a month each, Thailand will get about 1.2 trillion baht a year from them,” he told the Bangkok Post.

Thailand is in what’s called a “middle income trap” with slow economic development. A “proactive economic plan” is being set up to promote investment and tourism. At a CESA meeting, Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government aims for 4% economic growth for 2021 and 2022. If all goes well, the plan should spike economic growth and free Thailand from the middle income trap within the next 6 to 7 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Is it just a coincidence that this is announced on April 1st?

  2. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Good idea. Show all the paupers the door.

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    they mean govt plans to swindle

  4. Avatar

    Marcus Aurel

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Hi, I’m here already. I know that for the Thai people, I’m just a guest and will remain one. The judicative, executive and legislative branches could not care less about my rights, about protecting my property. So I rent instead, keep my money in my home country, have my Merc in my country but only a cheap Suzuki here. You know, my dear Thai people, I don’t trust you and I treat you like you treat me. A temporary girlfriend.

    No hard feelings, sabai sabai.

  5. Avatar

    Tarzan Fonda

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    I agree. My condo has a bunch of “pauper” farangs which I have nothing in common with. Their soccer, their beer, their 30-40 K teacher job. That is their world. And they intend to live like that here until they retire? Time to go home, dreamers, and make some serious cash there. You should not go overseas to build a poor life of dreams, but move somewhere where you can actually get yourself some savings, a career.

  6. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    That’s a good one !?????????

  7. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Unfortunately, i’ve already heard this kind of project many times, but it never turned real.
    First, it could be very profitable for Thailand to give a very long stay visa to actual expats, married with thai or living in the country for already many years. If these expats had a safe view on future, they would invest more in Thailand…

  8. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Thought online april 1st pranks were illegal in toyland.

  9. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    If they earn 300-400k, then they’re doing quite fine where they’re at and there’s no real incentive to relocate to Thailand if they’re going to be expected to spend an equal amount of money as they do in their “developed” country. Maybe for the time being, focus on taking care of the ever increasingly impoverished Thai poor class. Getting wealthy Chinese citizens in here(that’s who they really mean)to foot the bill, by “buying” property, isn’t a sustainable plan nor even remotely sensible, for a huge list of reasons that are obvious to most.

  10. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    This has been suggested before. However the Thais are too used to cheating, scamming, and dual pricing to give any better deals, even to the rich.
    The rich are cautious, and I doubt they will invest much money in a land where they can change the rules overnight.
    The Thais have lost their credibility.

  11. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    First they closed the country for retirees who were abroad and could not go back to their homes, and now they want more people to buy property?

  12. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    I think this is at least the 10th program unveiled since the onset of Covid lure in “millions of international tourists” to Thailand.

    What’s next?
    Free soi dog to every international tourist that arrives between April 1 and October 1 ?
    Creators of these plans have the IQ of a dead flea.

  13. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    And what should be the offer not to go better to Hawaii, Singapore, Riviera, Caribean or Monacco?

  14. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    haha. Good one Shane.

    But yea this is laughable. ‘If one million of them are here in Thailand and spend about 100,000 a month each, Thailand will get about 1.2 trillion baht a year from them’. This is called ‘building castles in the sky’. My parents have money and are retired but no way in hell they’d move to Thailand, most would choose to be near their families.

  15. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    What utter bullshit

  16. Avatar

    April Fools

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    I think not

  17. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    One of the main reasons why most retired Farangs have chosen to live in Thailand is the low cost of living compared to their home countries.

    The “rich” folks can afford moving to Florida, Spain, Dubai or the French riviera .

    The main attraction of Thailand was that even a middle class Westerner could get royal treatment from Thai ladies.

    But there are plenty of beautiful girls happy to entertain multimillionaires in every location of the globe, so if you are wealthy , you dont really have to come to Pattaya.

  18. Avatar

    Big Al

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Im Not Sure What This guys Smoking, but I Hope i can Get my Hands on some Of it. Perhaps I Could export Backpack Resperators for all These Super Rich execs, that Are Breaking down the doors to Live In Thailand. He Must Be Refering to The Triads, with their black BMWs

  19. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    Malaysia and Singapore have excellent Expat Retiree schemes. Even The Phillipines has a decent program that entitles Expat Retirees to multiple-entry privileges with the right to stay permanently in the Philippines, plus many other incentives, including residency and house and land ownersip. NONE of those countries competing with Thailand demand things like 90 day reporting and annual renewal payments etc etc etc. Thailand has a long way to go to entice ‘wealthy’ Expats, and that useless failed Thailand Elite Visa program proves it.

  20. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Anyone with real money would be looking at Bora Bora, the Seychelles or the Caribbean.
    Even the Chinese, except low end tourist types had moved on from Thailand before Covid struck.

  21. Avatar

    James R

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    But we don’t want to stay in Thailand and retire there, we want to stay in our own secure countries for maybe six months a year where we can actually own our properties and wealth knowing it is secure.

    Visiting Thailand is ok for six months a year but we know it is only temporary.

    Why would we want to live twelve months a year in Thailand, where we have to run down the the police station and report what we are doing every three months plus we are second class citizens there with no rights.

    If you want long term retirees then give five year visas and you might attract more people with money.

    Plus in Thailand we never know when the rules might change.

    It has been possible to buy property in places like Malaysia for years now and have a 10 year long term visa.

    It can be changed to a permanent visa after five years.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      But Malaysia’s not Thailand.

  22. Avatar


    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Besides the fact purchasing a home or condo in Thailand isn’t a good long term investment. Being able to buy a home in Thailand might entice some, but only if they get to actually own the property outright. I do find it interesting they mention Europeans, Japanese and South Koreans, but no talk about the Chinese? What is up with that, I would think they are the target since they love to buy property outside of China (capital flight). Maybe Thailand is afraid the Chinese will flood the market (they will), and create a bubble with the accompanying crash? All of that aside, it doesn’t seem like a good method of breaking out of the middle income trap (which Thailand is the poster boy). You do that by moving up the value added chain through innovation and increasing productivity of both labor and capital. No more just assembling products designed by other countries with imported technology. Thailand needs a much higher skill level of worker with heavy investment in education and R&D. Not an easy thing to do and many countries fail. The plan in this article looks like nothing more than a new scheme to separate foreigners from their money.

  23. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 1:28 am

    I like the idea of a country such as Thailand opening its doors to people with some respect. it is very nice. I have lived in China where it is much different for investment. Business atmosphere is good, yet home purchasing is tricky. I know live in the Philippines where everything is backwards, so I always wanted to get out of the Philippines and start a new business elsewhere. This is exactly what makes a growing economy, NEW MONEY. I am looking forward to moving to hua hin and moving my business there. thank you Thailand for opening up your mind in the correct direction.

  24. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 1:32 am

    I think all the comments above hit a mark of some sort. collectively you see why Thailand is a good place for smart people. You rarely get this kind of “common sense logic” from other foreigners or expats. I am happy I see this.

  25. Avatar

    James R

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:35 am


    True Thailand is not Malaysia but if they want to attract rich people to retire then they should have similar conditions to Malaysia re retirement visa length, ownership, freedom otherwise they will not come, it seem like a good example for me to quote don’t you think?

    • Avatar


      Friday, April 2, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Certainly, from my personal POV, I came to Thailand because it’s Thailand. I like a lot of things about Thailand that I don’t like in other SE Asian countries. So any challenges put in front are just challenges… I will want to come to Thailand only. Of course I enjoy travelling to other neighbouring countries and appreciate that many of them have less restrictive immigration and retirement laws. But I will gladly go through the pillars of hell to live in this country I call home. And I wouldn’t live in Malaysia if they paid me. Horses for courses. Tim

  26. Avatar

    Andy W

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 4:03 am

    I guess the politicians property development companies are underperforming, so they want to try to reinvigorate the market…
    Meanwhile who cares about the rest of the population that earn their living from mass tourism.

  27. Avatar


    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 4:44 am

    hilarious innit ?

  28. Avatar


    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 9:19 am

    This will likely go down as a pipe dream because the Thais are not willing to do what’s necessary to really attract “rich” retirees.

    Some observations:

    -They are culturally conservative and want to control every aspect of your visit. The bureaucracy to retire here is at best a hassle and they want to track your every movement with reporting requirements. Rich people don’t want to be tracked and hassled with paperwork.

    -They are short-term oriented and it’s about making a buck today. Most successful situations involve a long-term view and having your investment pay off in the long-term. They’re already counting the money they might make before it’s been earned – 1.2 trillion baht a month. Another example is the Elite Visa. During COVID they saw a rise in demand so what did they automatically do? Raise the price by 20%. Why not make the Elite Visa free and you have to be “rich” to qualify for it?

    -Rich people value the safety of their assets and property and would never bring those riches to the Kingdom. Rich people would never buy a property here if they don’t have property rights similar to what they have in their home country. Rich people would never transfer a million dollars to a Thai bank account for fear of being told when and how much they can withdraw.

    -They’re not really solving a customer problem, they’re trying to solve their own problem. Why not ask a “rich” retiree – What changes would draw you here to settle down? Instead of asking your Ministries what would be acceptable to you to get more rich people in country.

    So to sum it up, rich people see Thailand as a playground for a few weeks to a few months a year. Beautiful women, fabulous food, warm weather year round and reasonable prices. Visa on arrival for 30 days or take a weekend trip to Singapore and you have 60 days with a second stamp. That’s the formula.

    Thai people are smart. They know what to do. They just can’t do it. It’s to against the grain.

  29. Avatar

    Joost Mous

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Typical Thailand obsessed with people with money. Big fish. They forget that less fortunate (millions) feed the small businesses. A few rich only the already rich.

  30. Avatar

    J West

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Ad nauseam: at question are the rights, privileges of residence and ownership in Thailand. These are always at the forefront of any investors decision to purchase real estate….anywhere. If there is no security no one will buy. It’s pretty simple. As Malaysia has been mentioned, Malaysia is also included. They have also separated legal owners from possession and quiet enjoyment. The recent September 26, 2020 general expulsion of legal residents being separated from their personal property, effects and even direct family shocked the conscience of an entire population of potential owners, globally. I think Thailand will have its work cut out for it to gain back the trust of that community. Thailand can’t move on with new schemes until old mistakes are rectified. Most foreigners have long memories. “ Good guy in , Bad guys out” was turned on its head. Perhaps to start, separate resident from tourist, apply some criteria. People who live and work legally for a period of time, 5 years, should be afforded the right to prosper equally.

  31. Avatar

    David Mann

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Ben and J West, spot on comments. This announcement is not visionary or even a strategy. It’s at best a tactical quick fix to grab some quick cash. Solving the middle income trap that Thailand finds itself in won’t be fixed like this. It needs joined up thinking, from education to feed industry with quality people, to better work and immigration policies to attract the worlds best and smartest talent and it needs laws to protect investment and reduce corruption. Many large multinationals would struggle to do legitimate business in Thailand due to anti-corruption laws in their registered countries. As people have said already., Thailand is a playground for the rich and the not so rich. If it’s serious about moving up the value chain then it needs to grow up and broaden its view of the world. Come back in 100 years and I doubt you will see much change. The leaders don’t really want it and the people are educated not to want it. A vicious circle I’m afraid. Enjoy the sun sea sand and sex and go home

  32. Avatar


    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    expats, and the western world, have supported thai people and local business in difficult times like the tsunami and this virus pandemic,we have no rights,no votes, and no home ownership, about time we are recognised and be treated equally as thai citizens are treated in our own country

  33. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Real rich people travel by their own private jets and yahts.
    They keep their money in safe tax havens such as Singapore and monaco.even in the unlikely event of attracting such people to reside in thailand they would contribute very little to the economy anyway.
    The country does far better out of the average backpacker who probably spends a couple of months in the country and puts money into the grass roots local economy at many location.this futile pursuit of attracting the wealthy to thailand has been mooted for decades with little to no success so far as I can see.thought somebody would have worked this out by now however T.I.T!

  34. Avatar

    James R

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:10 pm


    The article is about making it attractive and easier for people with money to retire in Thailand, I merely offered some suggestions and examples of what another nearby country does in order to attract more people to retire there.

    It is not about your preferences or what you would or would not do to stay in Thailand, if you think the retirement visa system is perfect for you that is OK but as we can see it is not perfect for everyone hence the need for change as suggested in this article.

  35. Avatar

    James R

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:18 pm


    A very good comment, very good points.

    You should be in charge of the retirement requirements and deciding the changes to the free movement and rights of retirees in order to attract many more.

    The reason many of the people in question are rich is due to the fact they are good at business and would never invest in a country where the ownership law of property are a disadvantage to them, if this is changed then there would be a lot more investment.

  36. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    If Thailand wants to attract wealthy people for long term stay, it must solve the air pollution problem. Older people cannot tolerate this air quality no matter what.

  37. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    The wealthy wontl save them but the less fortunate might if the stopped treating them like shit…… The rich are way too tight……..These tight ass MPs should know this

  38. Avatar

    Just another Farang

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    I am probably a minority among those in my income class. Comments above about a preference for Hawaii or the Caribbean are probably true in many cases. However there is a group of people like me who find the typical second home locations boring. I would love to make Phuket my paradise. I can tolerate being stopped wearing a helmet and having my motorcycle and clothing searched without permission or a warrant while locals without helmets are waived through. Annoying yes, but I’ve nothing to hide. I’d tolerate the 90 day check-ins at immigration, though I don’t know what purpose they serve. Really they are easy and worth the hassle to be here. I’d tolerate the long list of complaints by farangs who live here and shrug off being called a dirty farang. I’d buy a villa at Jom Chang or Cape Amarin but really I can’t. Yes I could jump through the hoops and set up a BVI corporation but then life here becomes complicated and that changes things. If I brought my seaplane here I would not be allowed to land on the water so I’ll leave it in the Caribbean. If I brought a helicopter here I, as a foreigner, am not allowed to fly it, sort of like having a gun. If I could do in Thailand what a foreigner could do in my home country I’d make Phuket my paradise. But I can’t so I’ll treat her like she does me, a Mia Noi at best, or maybe just my girlfriend tonight…
    I don’t know how many people like me would bring millions to Thailand if I could enjoy the same freedoms I still can in my home country, perhaps not enough to make it worth it to Thailand. But I think it is moot because I don’t expect in my lifetime Thailand will give foreigners the same freedoms as Thais, let alone what I enjoy elsewhere.

  39. Avatar

    Steinar Sammis Chamberlin Saamuelsen

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    I am one of the not-so-rich, and my beloved wife is Thai. If I was to move to Thailand as a retiree, first of all the Government would have to get rid of 99% of the paperwork needed to obtain a visa. In my case, a Retirement Visa. Also the 90 day report is nonsens! I will not repeat all the above good arguments, just give my assent.

  40. Avatar

    Wayne C

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 10:12 am

    LOL they’ve done everything they can to run the Westerners off. OK so I only make 200,000 baht a month you think I’m gonna put up with all their visa shenanigans no not for me .
    My plans are for Vietnam to hell with Thailand .

  41. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Mel Burn has made an important point.
    The rich have often taken a lifetime to become rich and are old. Some do not have good health so they are not going to stay in Thailand when the smog is so bad their eyes are streaming.
    In addition they are not going to tolerate paying five times more for medical care than a Thai.
    They are not going to swim in the sea that is contaminated with sewage.
    The Thais will not change they make more money the way things are.
    I have suggested before that all vehicles in Bangkok should be fitted with catalytic converters, but they will not be because Thais will not pay.

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