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Will Thailand Ignore Western Expats After COVID-19?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing POST-COVID-19 and the Immigration system associated therewith. 

A question that has come up and been sent to me and actually even friends have asked me this. They have said: "Well is Thai Law going to ignore Western expats in the aftermath of COVID. Is this like a watershed moment and we should just expect to just be given short shrift by Immigration authorities in the aftermath of this?" My answer to that is pretty categorically "NO" although I think that the dynamic will have shifted in the post-COVID response era because I think just the overall dynamics of the market, the tourism market have shifted markedly in the past few years, most notably the rise of China, that is just clear. Chinese tourists, especially mainland Chinese tourists, account for a very large percentage of the overall tourism money that is coming into Thailand or was coming into Thailand prior to the response to COVID back in March of 2020. 

Meanwhile, I suspect that we will probably see less Western tourists just as a matter of course because it will be more difficult to get here; some of the logistical issues. Thailand is taking a very stringent approach with respect to quarantine so again that may factor into folks' decision whether or not to be tourists here and yes that can factor into how the overall Tourism Authority and the Immigration Authority views those type of tourists. 

That said "are they being purposely ignored?" No and I would even make a strong argument that especially retirees, Western retirees, I think that the Thai Immigration Authorities and policy making authorities especially are aware of retirees with respect to the contribution that they make to the Thai economy or I should say, maybe it is more apt to say they are becoming very aware of it at this moment and the Thai Retirement Visa has been reopened as a category for possible entry to Thailand.

So I think overall it is probably too soon to tell totally. Yes we may not be quite the priority of tourists or on the priority list as the Chinese are now demographically, but I definitely think retirees and folks like Elite Visa holders who are clearly high net worth folks or you know VIP kind of level tourists who are coming in and definitely spending funds. It doesn't even have to be VIP but folks that are coming to Thailand that are just looking to retire here and just looking to spend money here, yes I think those folks definitely will be prioritized. So saying that they will be ignored in the future, I don't think that is an accurate statement at all.