The Land of Opportunity- A post pandemic business-scape
There can be no question, that COVID 19 brought commerce and business around the world to its knees. Many businesses struggled and suffered a painful demise, with employees and owners alike enduring significant mental and financial hardship. It seems that everyone, the world over has had a bit of a reality check, and been forced to dig deep and look inside themselves for answers on how they will evolve and emerge from this state of shock.
In Thailand, the attitude seems to be ‘with a vengeance!’ It is quite remarkable and inspiring to stand by and watch as new opportunities and markets emerge. Inspired entrepreneurs from every walk of life, with a fire in their belly are embracing demand and seizing opportunity. It would appear that COVID-19 restrictions merely served as a period of reflection, to gather energy and strength in preparation for the next chapter. To quote a popular analogy…the Thailand business community is ‘rising like a phoenix from the flames’.
Changes in Tourism
Tourism, necessarily came to a complete stand-still in March 2020. All tourism businesses and services suffered as a result, and business owners have been forced to adapt or change their business model and structure completely for survival. Minimal income has led to analysis and reform of previously relied upon marketing, with only the most dedicated, astute business owners paving a way forward.
Following COVID, there are definite signs that Thailand is fast evolving as a high-end, luxury tourism destination. While there has always been hidden gems in terms of luxury tourism products and services, the new private jet terminal in Phuket, the marked increase in bespoke villa developments and the silhouette of large Superyachts on the horizon suggest there is a change in the winds!
“Goodbye” mass, zero-dollar, budget tours, “Hello” high-end yoga & wellness retreats!
Changes in Government Policy
The Thai government are demonstrating their support for investors, emerging markets and opportunists prepared to embrace the Thai way of life alike with several marked policy changes set to transform tourism & commerce.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently opened (September 1st) applications for a new 10 year Long Term Resident Visa which stands to offer multiple benefits including fast track airport service, multiple re-entry and permission to work in the Kingdom.
The Thai government decriminalized cannabis with The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) removing cannabis with extracts containing no more than 0.2 percent by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from it’s banned narcotics list, and thus permitting cannabis cultivation for medical and health purposes.
The Ministry of Finance announced in the midst of COVID-19, in February 2021, changes to regulations to allow foreign flagged superyachts of over 30m in length to charter legally in Thailand. Superyacht industry stalwarts believe this to be the biggest defining factor which has thus far prevented Superyachts owners to take the plunge and venture east of the ‘all too familiar & crowded’ cruising grounds of the Mediterranean. Marine Industry experts are predicting Thai shores to be flooded with luxury yachts as word trickles through the industry that Thailand is ‘open for business’.
The Thai Cultural Self-Belief
Of course, none of these underlying changes would be realized in the community if it wasn’t for the strong cultural belief in Thailand that ‘you can be whoever you want to be’. It feels like there is no judgement for people to choose their own path, follow their own dreams, and find peace and contentment in doing so.
There are new, inspired entrepreneurs popping up around every street corner, all dedicated and committed to work hard and inject their own warm personality into whatever direction they choose. It’s an inspirational place to be, which combined with the tropical climate cannot fail to breathe light and energy into everyone who is fortunate enough to experience it.