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Tourism and Real Estate in Thailand

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Most foreigners who purchase a property in Koh Samui have previously enjoyed holidays here, and have subsequently fallen in love with the island’s many charms, affordability and relaxed way of life. It is therefore important, when looking at the future potential of “overseas” investment regarding the property market, to first see how the Thai tourist industry, the leading industry in Thailand, has been and will continue to perform as it is today’s tourists who will become tomorrow’s investors.

Below are some comments taken from a Jones Lang LaSalle report regarding their views on tourism in Thailand:


2016 saw international arrivals increase by 7.5% y-o-y to 20.8 million. This represents a more moderate increase compared to the 24.8% seen in 2015, mainly due to the slowed growth of visitors from Mainland China in response to the crackdown on zero-dollar tours in late 2016. As at YTD November 2017, arrivals had risen 20.6% y-o-y to 21.1 million.


Mainland China is Bangkok’s largest source market, contributing almost 30% of international visitors as at YTD July 2017 according to latest available statistics. Despite the government crackdown, Bangkok tourism was not significantly affected, with strong y-o-y growth from South Korea (20.1%) and India (17.4%) further supplementing visitor arrivals.


Approximately 1,900 keys were added in 2017. While 2016 saw a concentration in the midscale segment, accounting for close to 50% of new supply, 2017 saw a shift to the budget and upscale segments, contributing close to 30% each. Approximately 9,800 rooms remain in the pipeline between 2018 and 2020. In terms of location, we are seeing a shift beyond the traditional Sukhumvit area, as the Riverside and Ratchadapisek areas gain traction.


Despite stable arrival figures from Mainland China, Bangkok continues to see strong growth in visitor numbers from other major source markets, particularly from South Korea and India, as the government shifts focus from arrival figures to visitor spending by targeting higher-spending niche markets. The newly released first edition of the Michelin Guide to Bangkok will further strengthen Bangkok’s forefront position as a culinary destination.


suzie Arcadipane

July 8, 2017 at 16:48

What is the government ruling on Australians purchasing property.???
Is it as complex as Bali.???

suzie Arcadipane

July 8, 2017 at 16:51

Perhaps you could steer me in the right direction for finding out reletive laws.


July 11, 2017 at 10:09

Hi Suzie,
Thanks for your question,
I am not sure what the foreign ownership laws are in Bali or how Thailand compares, but I can tell you the following:
As a non-Thai, you can own a condominium licensed property directly in your own name, much as you would own a property in Australia.

As a non-Thai you can own a building (eg villa) directly in your own name but not the land that it is situated upon. You can however lease the land in 30 year increments, and you can also be a shareholder and director of a Thai Ltd Co., that can own the land.
I will send you an email with details of a reputable lawyer who can better explain each ownership option.

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