The Thai government has announced a series of measures, including substantial tax cuts, to entice foreign films to use Thailand as a production location.

With Thailand pulling in an impressive $29m (baht1.27bn) in tax revenues from foreign film productions last year, more than double 2000's $12.6m (baht553 m), the measures are designed to further boost such income towards an expected $45m in 2002.

The first of these measures to be endorsed is a substantial income tax break for foreign actors and crews. A flat rate of 10% will now be imposed rather than the sliding scale of 5%-30% that was particularly onerous to those actors earning in excess of $2.3m (baht100m) per film.

The tax cut is part of a two-fold push to promote business and tourism in the country announced following a cabinet meeting on January 15. The government is keen to attract international producers to Thailand rather than neighbouring Malaysia, which also offers similar climate and locations. Hollywood producers as well as filmmakers from China and India are particular targets.

Other initiatives such as improving the process for foreign crews to obtain work permits in Thailand and easing the rules on exporting films will also be considered.

435 foreign films - including features, commercials and documentaries - were shot in Thailand in 2001, an increase from 402 in the previous year. However of these, the number of feature films shooting in Thailand has doubled from 29 to 59.