Monday, February 13, 2006

resident vs 'tourist' dollars

The letter below is absolutely excellent. I am so tired of hearing this government bullshit about so-called 'tourist' dollars. Most of these so-called 'tourists' are actually residents who are forced to mimic a tourist entering and leaving the country every 30 days in order to remain in Thailand.

Yet foreign 'residents' are universally disparaged, depsite the fact that anyone with sense would realize that a resident spends many times more over the course of 6 montsh or a year than the most flash 2 week tourist. And the best part is that this is often money the resident is bringing into the country from abroad, not locally generated income.

FYI if you make your money abroad, there is currently no way to qualify for a long stay Thai visa unless you are willing to purchase an overpriced condo unit or marry a local. Even then, there are no guarantees and no path to residency. There are many people who have lived here for 10+ years who still do "visa runs" every 30 days or, at best, spend a full day 'reporting' to Thai immigration every 90 days like a paroled convict.

Frankly I think the immigration law is there to serve a racist elitist ruling class, thereby keeping Thailand 'free' for them to exploit, but also to buff up the tourist numbers which benefit quite a few people with their hands in the government subsidy till.

The Nation:

Some repeat visitors come here 12 times every year

The “real” tourist market is small when compared with the permanent resident “tourist” market. A long-term Thai visa is so difficult to acquire that many expats just make “the run” every month. Nearly half of all tourist visas are issued to permanent residents. Permanent in name only, that is. Just send a reporter on one of the well-advertised bus runs to the border and have them count expats and “temporary tourists”.