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Tsunami causes sharp drop in income from foreign film makers

Earnings from foreign film makers dropped sharply after the tsunami hit…

Earnings from foreign film makers dropped sharply after the tsunami hit Thailand`s Andaman coast late last year, according to a senior Tourism and Sports Ministry official.

The spectacular scenery of the local area had been a popular backdrop for many foreign movies and advertisements.

Kanitha Maneechoti, deputy director of the Tourism Development Office, said Thailand generated 1,128 million baht from foreign film makers last year, but after the tsunami earnings fell by 14 percent.

The tsunami has directly affected this industry. In the first three months of this year, our income from foreign film makers has declined by 14 per cent from the same period last year. That is a big loss, she said.

Not a single foreign movie had been shot in Thailand this year, only a short documentary and a number of advertisements.

In past years, foreign film makers had shot no less than 441 movies in our country and among these, no less than 100 films had been shot in locations in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi which were hit by the tsunami, Ms Kanitha said.

She said to promote the shooting of foreign films in Thailand, her office had called a meeting of related government agencies.

Ms Kanitha, who chaired the seminar at a hotel in Phuket, said the meeting would help officials understand the need to provide assistance to foreign film makers.

Among other things, Ms Kanitha`s office was also responsible in giving permission to film makers to shoot in Thailand as well as controlling and aiding the filming.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has said it wants to see at least a 10 to 20 per cent rise in the income generated from the film making industry.

That is why we hosted this seminar to encourage more foreign film makers to come to Thailand and to visit our Andaman coast which has been well known among foreign film makers for its ocean and cave scenery, she said.

The seminar also proposed that Phuket province undertake a pilot project to coordinate the interests of local officials and foreign film makers. Phuket is considered the fourth most popular site as a location for foreign film makers, following Bangkok, Chonburi, and Chiang Mai.

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