Thailand eyes growth in pink economy by attracting international LGBTQ+ retirees

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Thailand’s potential to expand its pink economy through the attraction of international LGBTQ+ retirees was the highlight of a recent conference held in Bangkok. Dr Chaiwat Songsiriphan, who is the founder and medical director of the Safe Clinic, emphasised that Thailand’s high tolerance for gender diversity could make it an ideal retirement destination for the LGBTQ+ community. He further noted that the country is already recognised for its LGBTQ+ tourism, parties and nightlife entertainment.

However, Dr Chaiwat highlighted that to truly become an LGBTQ+ retirement haven, there is a need for more healthcare specialists and clinics focusing on HIV and STDs. The availability of specialised healthcare units for the LGBTQ+ community is currently lacking. He asserted that the need for ease of access to antiretroviral drugs within the public healthcare system, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection, is paramount.

Looking at the economic perspective, Brendan Berne, a former Australian ambassador to France and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and an economist, indicated that LGBTQ+ retirees globally tend to invest in their retirement and travel abroad. They are in search of retirement communities where they can establish their own families, reported Bangkok Post.

Berne predicted that the next few decades will witness an increase in LGBTQ+ retirees, particularly as Generation Z (those born between the years 1997 and 2012) reaches retirement age. He stated that approximately 18% of Generation Z identifies as LGBTQ+, a significant rise in comparison to the mere 4% of the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964).

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Drawing attention to the increasing prevalence of the LGBTQ+ community, Berne proposed that Thailand could be at the forefront of this trend by creating a new sector tailored to LGBTQ+ retirement. He further emphasised the crucial role of government support in facilitating the growth of the pink economy in Thailand.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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