Tax breaks urged for movie makers

NAI YANG: Reducing taxation and slashing red tape could help revitalise the post-tsunami film industry in Phuket and surrounding provinces, a seminar heard yesterday.

Delegates to the meeting, organised by the Office of Tourism Development and the Thai Film Office, were told that scenes for 441 foreign films were shot in Thailand in 2004, generating revenue of around 1.13 billion baht for the country.

Phuket was the fourth most popular location for foreign film producers, after Bangkok, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai, and in past years Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi together usually attracted about 100 film crews each year.

But this year, Thailand is likely to make only 10% of what it had made last year from location shooting of foreign-made films.

Thanitta Maneechote, Deputy Director-General of the Office of Tourism Development, said that, this year, seven producers in January and six in February had asked for permission to film in the Andaman region, but most of these projects were documentaries or advertisements. No one had asked for permission to film a big-budget feature film in Thailand.

K. Thanitta suggested that making it easier and cheaper for foreign producers to work in Thailand might persuade them to return.

She said, “Last year, we were approached by Hollywood movie companies wanting to shoot two films – Anaconda 2 and Ghost Rider – in Thailand, but the crews ended up going to Fiji and Australia respectively because those countries had reduced taxes on film making, and took only one or two days to decide whether or not the crews could shoot scenes in conservation areas and the like.”

She added that the movie The Beach had brought “a vast amount of money” to Krabi, where it was shot, not only directly in terms of what the film crew had spent on accommodation, food and other services, but also indirectly, because of tourists who visited Krabi after seeing the film.

Those taking part in the seminar, held at the Pearl Village Hotel, included Vice-Governor Winai Buapradit, Naritroj Fengrabill of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information and Charoemrab Kanejorn Na Ayutthaya, Deputy Director of Foreign Public Relations for the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Phuket News
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