Thai Bits: New Thai Government Policies Regarding COVID-19 and Land Ownership

Phuket COVID-19 Plan Will Be Applied To Other Parts of Thailand

Other areas are looking at ways to open as well, especially as the Phuket sandbox plan remains on track to open on July 1 to vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries. CCSA members approved in principle opening the sealed routes on three islands — Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao — to join the reopening plan on July 15, with tourists spending one week in Phuket before coming directly to Samui.
Samui visitors who fly to the island will have to follow additional restrictions: they must stay at alternative local quarantine hotels and spend three days on the hotel premises before being allowed to travel on sealed routes on Samui between days 4 and 7. From days 8 to 14, they can visit Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Recently, eight major tourism associations proposed a plan that would allow vaccinated visitors to travel across Chon Buri’s two mainland districts, Bang Lamung and Sattahip, with safeguards and restrictions on Aug 1, 2021.
The Prime Minister announced in mid-October that vaccinated foreign tourists could return to the country. However, only provinces with a vaccination rate of 70% in the general population and 100% in the service industry would be considered.

There Could Be New Land Ownership Policy Soon

A recent leak of plans to change land ownership in Thailand may only be temporary while the economy is suffering from the pandemic, and is still under consideration. According to one proposal, condo owners could own between 70 percent and 80 percent of their units. A maximum of 49 percent of foreign owners will be allowed to vote at owners’ meetings.
A second proposal allows foreigners to buy homes worth between 10-15 million baht and restricts foreign ownership in housing developments to 40 percent. There is also the possibility of changing the term of the land lease from 30 to 50 years, with an option to extend for another 40 years.
Companies that are more than 49 percent owned by foreigners are not allowed to purchase or own land unless a Foreign Business Licence has been granted by the Board of Investment or they are exempt under a treaty such as the treaty of amity for Americans. The Treaty of Amity allows Americans to own their own businesses outright, as well as to own property.
BOI companies that purchase land have one year after the promoted business ends to sell or dispose of the land. Thai citizens may purchase and own land through limited companies that are majority-owned by Thai citizens, however, the government does require that these companies be actively trading businesses with legitimate investors rather than shell companies created for the sole purpose of buying land.

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