Plans progress for new visas for superyacht crew in Thailand

2015-06-29By Sophia Heath

New visas that will allow foreign-flagged superyacht crew to spend more time in Thailand are expected to be rolled out by November.

Under the current regulations captains and crew are only permitted to stay in the country for 30 days, but this is set to change as part of a plan to transform Thailand into a “superyacht hub”.

Changes to immigration regulations will allow crew to stay longer in Thailand

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that plans were being finalised to create new superyacht charter permits that will allow foreign-flagged boats to charter for up to 12 months.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's tourism and sports minister, has now confirmed to local press that from November it should be possible for crews to get extended visas.

“The visa for the crew will match the permit for the yacht, which should allow the boat and crew to work effectively during their stay in Thailand,” Wattanavrangkul said. “It is the intention of Prime Minister to make Thailand a world-class hub for yachts and cruise boats in Southeast Asia.”

As well as changes to visa legislation, the new “superyacht package” is expected to also include tax exemptions. As part of the developments there are also plans for a superyacht show to be held in Phuket next year.

“We think Phuket is ready and will make it the first location for an international superyacht show,” Wattanavrangkul added. “The owners of superyachts around the world can come and explore the opportunities available to them in Thailand as we showcase the country at the yacht show. If possible, we would like to make this an annual event.”