(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin unveiled a roadmap to develop the country as a regional hub for tourism, wellness and electric vehicles production as he bids to draw much-needed foreign investment to jumpstart an economy saddled with high household debt and deflation.

New initiatives to cement Thailand’s position as a tourism, wellness and medical hub will be centered around visa waivers and a planned single visa for countries including Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, Srettha said in a televised address on Thursday. The country will also take steps to emerge as an aviation and logistics hub, he said.

The prime minister will travel to Europe next month to invite companies such as Volkswagen AG and Maserati SpA to invest in Thailand, where manufacturing accounts for 27% of economic output. On Wednesday, Srettha’s government announced a slew of incentives to promote local production of battery cells and boost the adoption of new-energy buses and trucks.  

Thailand has aggressively rolled out incentives and attracted a flurry of foreign investments in recent years, particularly from Chinese EV makers. The country, often referred to as “the Detroit of Asia,” is targeting 30% of its car output to be electric by 2030.

The country expects to draw about 1 trillion baht in fresh investment into the automobile industry during the government’s four-year tenure, Srettha said, adding spending commitments have already totaled 150 billion baht since he assumed power six months ago.

Srettha, who is also the finance minister, has clashed with the central bank on the approach to revive Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. While his government has announced a raft of subsidies and loan waivers to ease the cost of living pressures, the central bank has resisted pressures to cut policy rate even after data showed this week the economy contracted in the final quarter of last year from the preceding three months. 

The former property tycoon wants to lift the pace of annual economic growth to 5% during his term and has announced measures including visa waivers for Chinese visitors and debt moratorium for farmers, students and small businesses. 

But he has faced hurdles in his push to implement his party’s key election plank — a cash handout to almost every Thai adult. The program’s price tag of 500 billion baht ($14 billion), to be funded through borrowing, has drawn criticism from opposition parties and push-back from the central bank.

The government will invest in roads, rail networks and ports to develop the country as a logistics hub in the region, Srettha said Thursday. The government plans to push ahead with a $29 billion dollar landbridge to connect the Indian and Pacific oceans by bypassing the Malacca Strait, according to the prime minister. 

The government is also committed to developing the nation’s financial markets including its $478 billion stock market to attract foreign investors, especially the sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East, he said.

While Thailand is currently witnessing a spell of deflation — with negative consumer price readings for four months since October — the Bank of Thailand argues that the negative inflation is due to state subsidies and not because of demand deficiency, another point of contention with Srettha.

The Thai economy grew 1.9% last year, missing most forecasts. Meanwhile household debt has remained above 90% of gross domestic product and public debt has ballooned by half since 2019, to about 61%.

--With assistance from Pathom Sangwongwanich, Janine Phakdeetham and Anuchit Nguyen.

(Updates with EV investment target in fifth paragraph.)

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