Thailand targets film industry in new tourism drive

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's Tourism Minister, launches new the film festival and campaign
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Tourism Minister, launches TIFDF 2017

The Thai government is planning to attract more movie-makers to the country as part of a new tourism drive.

The country’s Department of Tourism recently launched the fifth Thailand International Film Destination Festival 2017 (TIFDF 2017), which is aimed at promoting the country as an international film destination.

The theme of this year’s event is “Fascinating Destination”, which focuses on promoting the eight tourism “clusters” in Thailand among international film-makers. This will be achieved through a series of activities, including a short film competition for international students and cinema screenings of famous films shot in Thailand.

“We (Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism & Sports) have tourism strategies which aim to generate income for the country, bring income to communities, improve the quality of life for Thai people, and add value to Thailand’s tourism,” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Thai Tourism Minister.

“We have many beautiful destinations in Thailand and the international film industry is directly linked to Thailand’s tourism. This not only brings in a large amount of money to our country, but also helps promote Thailand’s beautiful destinations internationally. TIFDF 2017… aims to attract those in the film industry to shoot films in Thailand.”

James Bond Island
James Bond Island

In 2016, more than 700 foreign films were shot in Thailand, generating THB2.3 billion (US$67.5 million) in revenues for the country. And this total has increased 14% in the first five months of 2017, in terms of movies filmed, and an impressive 65% in terms of revenue generated.

Thailand has a long history of hosting international film-makers. Famous movies shot in the country include the “The Deer Hunter”, “Air America”, “The Beach” and the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”, which led to an limestone islet in Phang-Nga Bay being nicknamed “James Bond Island”. More recently, “The Hangover 2” was shot in Bangkok and the Chinese hit “Lost in Thailand” focused on Chiang Mai.

“Thailand has been trusted by international film crews because of our beautiful locations, the talents of Thai people, and the credibility of our country,” Ms Kobkarn said.

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