Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

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#11 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby Undaunted » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:44 pm

Gaybutton wrote:I would not be surprised if Thailand really does make the 800,000 baht the only way they'll grant retirement visas.

It is obvious that Thailand nor the U.S.embassy could care less about its expats and it would not surprise me in the near future that the 800,000 becomes 1 million.
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#12 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby Gaybutton » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:27 pm

Undaunted wrote:it would not surprise me in the near future that the 800,000 becomes 1 million.

If that happens, there wouldn't be much we could do about it, but the flip side of that would be what does Thailand want expats to do? Do they want expats to end up having to sit at home trying to save enough money to meet that requirement or would they prefer to have us out there spending that money?

Of course you never know about Thai logic. Maybe they think if expats have 800,000 baht or 1,000,000 baht if it ever comes to that, then we must have plenty more too.

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#13 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby Jun » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:57 pm

fountainhall wrote:
gera wrote:Is not it 500 000 baht for 5 years?

My apologies. I have spoken to one of my friends who purchased the Thai Elite basic Easy Access card. It is indeed a fee of Bt. 500,000 for 5 years. Or you can pay Bt, 1 million for 10 years and Bt. 2 million for 20 years.

I imagine the Elite Easy Access card is just that -ideal for the elite, who have so much money that the convenience is worth it. And well done to them.

For the rest of us, by my maths, having 800,000 in MY bank account indefinitely would be cheaper than paying someone else 2 million baht for 20 years & waving goodbye to the money.

As for immigration policies, looking around the world, there are countries where the immigration policies make it easier for younger people to come in, presumably on the basis the they are more likely to start businesses and grow the economy. Australia is a fine example. Under 45 and I could have probably got enough points to go there. Over 45 & it gets a lot more difficult.
Thailand seems to encourage the over 55s.

Then there are a number of countries where investors can buy long rem visas or even passports, if they have sufficient money. Money makes a big difference in this world. That;s how it is.

The 800,000 baht bank balance is not exactly setting the bar too high. That's about £18500 or $24400. For middle class professionals, that's a few months income out of 30 or 40 years working. Many may have bought properties at home worth 10 times this sum & frequently an awful lot more.

Having policies which ensure any immigrants can pay their way are perfectly logical and fair.

As for their contribution to the economy, well their average spending is going to be some way above the average Thai gdp per capital, so it follows their contribution will be higher. Collecting taxes on it doesn't matter much, because it's still money which will circulate in the economy, so it helps to create economic growth. Even if your latest acquaintance doesn't pay tax on his 1000 baht tips, he will spend the money fast enough.

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#14 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby fountainhall » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:06 pm

My theory - and that is all it is - is that retired expats are useful for a country at a certain stage of its development. For example, around 30 years ago as the Thai economic boom got underway, the country began to develop world class hospitals but there were not enough locals prepared to pay for their services. This was, let's recall, about 15 years before the introduction of Thaksin's Bt. 30 medical treatment scheme for Thais. Thereafter these hospitals needed expats to offset their losses on the Thailand medical scheme.

Thanks to international marketing programmes, these Thai hospitals and healthcare in general are drawing large numbers of visitors who come primarily as medical tourists because prices are still well below those in the west. Also, as the Thai rich have got richer and the middle class has grown, demand seems to have caught up with supply, despite prices having gone up substantially. So in healthcare terms, there is no longer a need for the expat $$s.

But eventually some in government start to question the contribution of retirees, whether they are still needed and worth the hassle. When a country like Thailand has in excess of 35 million tourists annually each spending an average of Bt. 5,000 per day, the contribution of roughly 75,000 retirees is peanuts.

Merely a thought.

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#15 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby gera » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:17 am

fountainhall wrote:The total number of expats from the USA and the UK living here in 2010 was 126,000 (and this includes all children over age 5). Even assuming that number is now 150,000, it is reasonable to assume at least half are here on work visas. So the government is probably left with around 75,000 retirees.

I found your reasoning quite interesting. Why do you count Brits and Americans only? How about Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders,
Japanese, Koreans and others? I do not know exact amount of expats living legally in Thailand but I recall I read on ThaiVisa that the number is between 600000 and 700000.

I presume that you take amount of 5000 baht spent by Chinese tourists on average per day from TAT. Nobody knows how they calculated it (their other number that Chinese tourists spend 9-10 days in Thailand per visit at least easy to estimate from known data of legal arrivals and departure). I am sure the number is phony. As an indirect indicator of that Thais just reintroduced the stimulus: waiver of 2000 baht for a visa on arrival for 21 countries including China. In the past the stimulus work. But what kind of stimulus it is for a Chinese tourist who (allegedly ) stays 10 days and spend 5000 baht daily Add to this airfare and 2000 baht should be peanuts. The truth is their travel budget is very modest and 2000 is a SUBSTANTIAL expense for them.

In our condo we used to have hundreds of Chinese tourists ( not so anymore) and most of them UNI students and families. UNI students simply do not have 5000 per day to spend and families spend most of their time in swimming pool with rare visits of entertainment venues (like Tiffany show with stipulated ticket discounts). No luxury shopping, no expensive restaurants etc.

The truth is that every expat staying all year around should be counted as 366/10 =36 regular Chinese tourists in terms of their contribution in Thai economy. Add to that (substantial) health care expenses by retirees and you can appreciate the comparable value of expats.

One, of course, can argue that there is a small group of wealthy chinese who buy real estate in Thailand. But this group should be counted as investors or expats depending on how long they stay in Thailand not as regular tourists.

The decline in Chinese arrivals is huge and cannot be attributed to just boat accident in Phuket. The bluff was called, the current measures of US government will put a huge blow to Chinese economy, have bipartisan support and , in my view will be ratcheted up during a prolong period of time.
This means, yuan decline, and long-term deterioration in middle class income in China. Bye , bye trips to Thailand...

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#16 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby fountainhall » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:01 am

You are correct. I only included two markets. The only reason is that it is difficult to find statistics for others. But having lived in Thailand for 17 years, my gut feel is that these are by far the two major markets. Canadians and Australians will certainly boost my estimate. But do you seriously believe there is more than a very small number of New Zealanders, Japanese, Koreans and other Europeans retired here? I don’t.

I note you have no source for the ThaiVisa comment re 600,000 - 700-000. You do not mention if these are retirees but you lead us to assume they are. You do not even provide the source. In fact, the number is vastly wrong on two counts. All websites I can find state the number of foreigners living in Thailand is actually well over 2 million? Yet the vast majority of that number are here on work visas. Think of the Japanese and German car plants. Think of all the Japanese corporations with bases here – and so on.

As for retirees, on the Quora website one writer states of the number of retired foreigners in Thailand –

The IOM [International Organisation of Migration] estimate . . . about 100,000 live here on retirement visas.

https://www.quora.com/How-many-foreigne ... n-Thailand

So I’ll happily revise my number up to 100,000. It’s still way short of 600,000 - 700,000.

In talking about Chinese tourists staying in your condo, do you seriously believe that the vast majority of Chinese tourists live in condos? I don’t. They live in relatively cheap hotels. Since most travel in groups, the tour leaders have to be able to bus them in and out quickly. They cannot do that if their party is spread around in condos!

As for their average spend, yes I rely to a large extent on Thai statistics. By why should Thailand skew its statistics for Chinese tourists but not for other tourists? Having spent more than a year working as a consultant to a national tourist organization, I know well that tourism figures are not merely for internal use. They are fed to several international bodies, each of which has the ability to seek verification.

I suggest you look at the statistics for 2016 (I use 2016 only because I cannot locate the same breakdown for 2017 but we know the Chinese daily spend increased in both 2017 and the first half of 2018). Indeed, the largest expenditure per day per tourist per region is China. It beats by a country mile the spend of those from the Americas and Europe.

Image

http://www.thaiwebsites.com/tourism-income-Thailand.asp

You suggest the figure is baloney. Well why would the Chinese skew their own figures? Here are excerpts from a couple of very recent articles in The Bangkok Post.

1. The spending per trip for all Chinese going overseas was 5,200 yuan = Bt. 24,960. Note that is “all Chinese” and all trips. So it includes those going on short shopping weekends to places like Singapore and short sightseeing trips to Taiwan, as well as those on longer week and more long trips to places like Thailand. So the spend for longer Thai trips is bound to exceed the average quite considerably.

2. An official of the China National Tourism Authority has confirmed that “he's quite sure that from December they will come back to Thailand as a prime destination.”

3. You suggest “Bye, bye Thailand.” Sorry, but you seem to have little understanding of the Chinese and the desires of the massively growing middle class. Outbound tourism will certainly continue to increase.

Thailand remained the top destination for Chinese travelling abroad in the first half of the year, according to a joint report by the China Tourism Academy and online travel firm Ctrip.

The report said 71.3 million Chinese tourists departed from more than 200 Chinese cities en route to 130 countries in the first half, a 15% year-on-year increase . . .

Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Authority, said the most popular destinations were Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, the US and Cambodia, in that order . . .

Average spending per person per trip for Chinese going overseas was 5,200 yuan (24,960 baht).

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/to ... nese-in-h1

Gao Jian Jun, of the China National Tourism Administration in Tianjin, said the negative feelings about past problems in Thailand have gone.

He said that while it remains uncertain whether Chinese tourists will head to Thailand as usual during Golden Week (Oct 1-7), he's quite sure that from December they will come back to Thailand as a prime destination.

"The Chinese always think of Thailand among the top destinations," Mr Gao said. "Chinese travellers pay more attention to safety, and the Thai authorities have shown they are enthusiastic about laying out measures to deal with the issue."

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/to ... ue-tourism

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#17 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby Jun » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:17 pm

For a start I suspect there would be quite a lot of Germans retired in Thailand. They like to travel & I see quite a few groups of them around at various coffee shops.

As for the tourist spend, I suspect the Chinese tourists include low spenders in cheap hotels on those bus trips and the very wealthy ones who stay in posh hotels & probably splash out in some of the premium shops.
The Europe figures will include Russia, as European Russia is where nearly all the Russians live.

Incidentally, I wonder how they measure the expenditure ? They don't know how much I spend on a night out in Pattaya. The only way they would get an accurate figure is if they record all my purchases of baht at exchange booths plus ATM withdrawals. They probably have the means to do that, but are they collating the data ? For anyone dumb enough to buy large quantities of baht in the UK at a lousy rate, they cannot easily track that.

If they are merely doing a survey, well the reported figures will be influenced by people's culture. Some like to round down, some like to be honest & some like to project themselves as "considerably richer than you". Reminds me of a short conversation I had with someone on the terrace outside the Ambience a few years ago. The guy never told me his name, but did manage to say how much he was earning during our short conversation.
Others like to keep a low profile.


As for the value of adequately funded retired expats, is anyone questioning this ?
All the Thai authorities are doing at present is making a few steps to ensure the income rules are followed.

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#18 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby gera » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:23 pm

If you used to work in tourist industry , perhaps you can explain how TAT estimate (in great detail) the average spending by various categories of tourists. My personal observation (and I am sure of many others) do not confirm TAT figures. Your own approach seem to be inconsistent. First, you take total number of US and UK expats and divide it by 2 to estimate the number of retirees. Then you take the total number of expats as 2 million and divide it by 20 to estimate the number of retirees. But again , both numbers are wrong. My number was given (as I recall ) by Swedish guy who is in charge of ThaiVisa company in an official letter to Thai authorities.If you believe TAT statistics, then it clearly states that Europeans spend more than Chinese when travel in Thailand not other way around as you claim. That is frankly quite obvious at least in Pattaya.
Finally, it does not matter whether Chinese like or do not like to travel to Thailand. Their financial ability to do so will continue to deteriorate because a little dirty secret of Chinese economy is that it depends much more on US Dollars and US technology that it is claimed. And unfair trade and IP stealing is coming to the end. On this last point the time will tell who is right.

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#19 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby fountainhall » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:33 pm

gera wrote:Finally, it does not matter whether Chinese like or do not like to travel to Thailand. Their financial ability to do so will continue to deteriorate because a little dirty secret of Chinese economy is that it depends much more on US Dollars and US technology that it is claimed. And unfair trade and IP stealing is coming to the end. On this last point the time will tell who is right.

We've made our arguments. I have quoted the IOM, an official non-Thai organisation. You produce figures merely from personal experience of one city and your own conclusions. We do agree on one thing, though. Time will tell who is right. But if you think the Chinese economy is tanking in such a way it will not recover and as a result tourism into Thailand from China will only go down the tubes, you are very much mistaken. Just read the economic journals.

Oh, and by the way, you may not be aware that today is Single's Day in China, the great one day sale originated by Alibaba. Last year, the total generated in 24 hours was a record US$25.4 billion. This year's total will not be known for another few hours. But it is known that several records have already been broken.

The Chinese company hit a record $1bn in sales in 85 seconds, and then just shy of $10bn in the first hour of the 24-hour spree. Alibaba also beat its 2017 revenue total, $25.3bn, with several hours still remaining.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46168996

Hardly a sign that the Chinese do not have money in their pockets and their credit accounts!

For your information, Alibaba has a travel portal named Fliggy which also sells travel tours on Single's Day. Fliggy has 549 million users, 83% of whom were born after 1985. Fliggy already has tie-ups with western companies like American Airlines, booking.com, Lufthansa and J. W. Marriott and is in discussion with others. These companies all want their products available on Fliggy's web portal. Over the last three years, travel sales have increased in excess of 40% per year. We'll see in due course if that number decreases once today's results are known.

gera wrote:If you believe TAT statistics, then it clearly states that Europeans spend more than Chinese when travel in Thailand not other way around as you claim.

The TAT statistics are clear. The average spend per tourist per day by Chinese is US$178.47. That for the Americas is US$141.16. That for Europeans is US$120.25. On that basis, how do you come up with the idea that Europeans spend more?

There are standard international methods adopted by national tourism organisations to come up with average daily tourist spends. They are certainly not exclusive to Thailand. They certainly do not depend on a few individuals' estimates based on the numbers they see wandering around Bangkok or Pattaya or just the TM arrival card information. After all, governments worldwide commit billions of $$ to specific tourist strategies based on the facts provided by their national tourism bodies. If you are that interested, i strongly suggest you read this -

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf

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#20 Re: Another View on the Value of Retired Expats to Thailand

Postby fountainhall » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:58 am

Just one additional point re the comparison between the daily spend of Europeans versus the Chinese and others. I think you may forget that a large percentage of the Europeans that visit Thailand come for family holidays. Go to Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, Samui and other seaside resorts and families are everywhere - and not just during western holiday periods.

Since the daily spend per visitor is very important to national tourist organisations, each member of a family of, say, four with two youngish children will spend on average quite a bit less than four individual tourists - or even two adult couples. That's just a fact of the tourism business. Also most families definitely tend to purchase less in the stores once here than individuals/couples.


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