Thailand intends to reduce taxes on luxury goods

Thailand is considering reducing taxes on luxury products to boost the thriving post-pandemic tourism industry. This initiative takes inspiration from similar actions in China and Japan, aimed at attracting wealthy tourists.

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto16 octobre 2023

Amid a tourism boom and luxury hotel expansion, Thailand is considering a tax exemption on luxury goods to attract wealthy tourists in the upcoming high season (Shutterstock)

Several recent meetings were held within the Thai Ministry of Finance with a clear goal: to consider reducing taxes on luxury brands and products. Ministry officials, along with representatives from the Federation of Thai Industries, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Thai Retailers Association, discussed this project to boost the tourism sector, which is once again expanding after pandemic-related restrictions. Their target audience is high-income tourists, who have become a coveted segment of the Thai tourism market.

Over the past decade, Thailand has seen a proliferation of luxury hotels. Renowned brands such as Accor's SO Bangkok, which has become a must-visit address in the capital, and the Six Senses Resort on Yao Noi Island, one of the country's first luxury eco-lodges, are evidence of this trend.

The new tax measures are expected to be implemented at the beginning of the high beach season, from November to March. The Ministry of Finance has requested customs departments to study tax measures that could attract affluent international tourism. The exemption from luxury product taxes would be the first measure to be implemented. Items such as bags, watches, jewelry, shoes, and leather accessories, which are currently taxed at 30%, could be subject to tax reductions. Thai financial institutions are also analyzing possible consequences and economic impacts on importers and retail sales stakeholders.

In 2015, when China noted that 55% of luxury purchases by Chinese citizens were made abroad in 2014, the country launched a major initiative. To meet the growing demand for luxury products and stimulate domestic consumption, the Chinese government reduced customs duties on several items, with reductions of up to 50%.

It is worth noting that the reduction of taxes on luxury products can significantly influence the sector. For example, in Japan, in the late 1980s, the abolition of the "luxury tax," especially on watches, stimulated demand for limited editions among Japanese luxury watch retailers.

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