BANGKOK - Thailand on Tuesday approved measures to attract "high potential" foreigners, including by providing longer term visas and tax benefits, as the Southeast Asian country tries to boost its flagging economy.
The tourism-dependent economy has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with the tourism sector still struggling. The government predicts growth of only 0.7% to 1.2% this year after a 6.1% contraction last year.
The new plan is expected to draw a million wealthy foreigners, including pensioners and skilled professionals, to Thailand between the 2022 to 2026 fiscal years, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana told a news briefing.
The proposal is expected to boost spending by 1 trillion baht ($30.36 billion), investment by 800 billion baht and tax revenue by 270 billion baht over the period, he said, adding the plan would be reviewed every five years.
Earlier, a government source had cited a figure of 1 trillion baht in spending per year.
The cabinet also approved 3.5 billion baht of projects including tourism, farm and labour skill development to support the rural economy, which will create about 36,000 jobs, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul. ($1 = 32.94 baht)
(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Satawasin Staporncharnchai Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Davies) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))