Thailand to open up to visiting charter yachts

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The Thai Government is moving towards removing the prohibitive VAT on the value of any visiting superyacht that wishes to charter in the country.

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Phuket Yacht Haven, one of Thailand’s leading marinas for superyachts

Progress is being made towards foreign-flagged visiting superyachts being encouraged to spend the winter seasons in Thai waters and offer their yachts for charter in the country without having to pay VAT on the value of the vessel.

 

The decision to remove VAT was taken at a meeting in Bangkok chaired by Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith and attended by officials from both the Customs and Revenue departments.

 

The meeting included Matthew Na Nagara, Chairman of the Thai Yachting Business Association (TYBA), and Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the former Minister of Tourism and Sport and currently Chairperson of K-Bank and Committee of National Reform on Economics. Nagara and TYBA have been instrumental in pushing the initiative through.

 

“TYBA is delighted the Thai Government has supported our goal to make Thailand the most attractive yachting hub in Asia. We already provide many advantages such as stunning archipelagos, good infrastructure, yachting professionals, skilled craftsman and a loving culture,” Nagara said.

 

“These policies will make Thailand an even more attractive destination for yacht and superyacht visitors. This will boost growth of the Thai yachting industry and provide work opportunities to many Thai citizens along the Andaman Sea and in the Gulf of Thailand.” 

 

The meeting marked the culmination of a six-year campaign since 2015 to change the local regulations. The tax regulations around the new initiative should be confirmed well ahead of the 2021/22 winter ‘peak season’ for yachting when Thailand could potentially welcome an influx of high-spending tourists depending on the pandemic situation.

 

However, as a yacht operator remarked: “The permission to stay in Thailand for six months (renewable every six months for up to two years) is valid for ‘Pleasure Craft’, defined as a boat used for personal or sports recreation, not for commercial purpose unless there is an exemption in accordance to Thai Vessel Act. It remains to be clarified whether it includes and refers to the Charter Licence, as well as the actual implementation on the charter VAT, foreign crew work permits and Visa.”

 

Overall, though, there seems to be significant progress after a long period of lobbying by the Thai yachting industry.

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