Thailand, post Covid. What needs to change?


As Thailand starts to peer out from behind the Covid curtain, many expats and potential travellers are wondering if much will change after 2 years of lockdowns, closures re-openings and re-entry ‘plans’. Will we see changes in visas, property ownership, entry requirements and business laws? One of our YouTube commenters wrote in with his current ‘wish list’ (below).

As the Thai government will be scrambling to attract travellers this year (along with most tourism-dependent countries), the constant narrative from senior ministers is to attract “high wealth individuals” to the Kingdom, for investment, general travel, retirement and medical tourism. But when the rubber hits the road, the current laws still make it difficult, or at least complex, for foreigners to live and conduct business in Thailand.

In regards to the current entry into Thailand, the Thailand Pass, and particularly aspects of the Test & Go program, make any major reboot of tourism unpredictable, at least in the short term. The first ten days of the Test & Go Version 2, since February 1, have fallen below expectations.

Property ownership has always been somewhat opaque for foreigners. There are plenty of historical ‘work arounds’ in place but few concrete ways for foreigners to ‘own’ land outright. (In this regard The Thaiger would always recommend you do plenty of homework and consult with a reputable agent and lawyer before purchasing property in Thailand)

When it comes to working in Thailand the system remains paperwork-heavy and restrictive. The growth of the world’s digital nomads has been almost completely ignored by immigration authorities. There is plenty of scope for visa updates that reflect a post-Covid working world.

So let’s hear what you want to see change in Thailand so it becomes a more attractive location for investment, tourism, living and retirement. Here’s the wish list from one of The Thaiger’s YouTube commenters (republished with permission)…

Things that would help somewhat..

1. Scrap Test and Go, proof of accommodation and onward flights.

2. Scrap the 60 day Tourist visa + 30 day extension and just give a 90 day, 6 month or 1 year Tourist visa. (More visa options in general would be nice. Bringing back the volunteer visa would be beneficial to many people)

3. Allow foreigners to buy land and houses Even if it’s only a certain amount per person. (If it’s for business use it would create local jobs and more tax for the government. This would also attract more retirees who don’t like the idea of living in a condo or renting)

4. Allow foreigners to own a business outright. (They are reducing the amount of potential investors and people who could grow a big business over time. Which would again result in more jobs and more tax for the government.)

5. More job options for foreigners. (More people, more tax, more demand, more growth etc)

All these things would make a shed load of money for the government, but they refuse to acknowledge any of them and just seem to keep tightening the noose, just focusing on the super rich to solve the problem “quickly”.
It’s madness I tells ya.

Adam Stainer (The Thaiger YouTube Channel commenter)

Now time for you to comment on Thaiger Talk with your wish list. We will discuss some of the best ideas (not complaints) on Good Morning Thailand on Tuesday next week.

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