Thailand’s investment body announced the investment target of 720 billion baht (22.5 billion U.S. dollars) for 2018 after closing the year of 2017 with an investment growth of 22 percent from 2016.

The total investment application value of 2017 was 641.978 billion baht (20.061 billion U.S. dollars), up 22 percent from the previous year and considerably higher than the initial 600-billion-baht (18.750-billion-U.S. dollar) target for 2017, said Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary general of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI).

“BOI has experienced a 5-10 percent increase in investment application value every year,” said Duangjia, who is confident in hitting the 2018 target which will be a growth of 12 percent from 2017.

The new target number was set after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who shared the government’s investment promotion policy with BOI’s executives.

“We want BOI to continue to give more weight to agriculture, food, digital, logistics, education, tourism, and services industries in 2018 because they are vital to economic growth,” said the deputy premier.

“This will cover all value chains related to agricultural activities and tourism services.” he said.

To attract more foreign talents and investments in high-tech sectors, the government is launching the “smart visa” program from Feb. 1, which will allow the visa holders to stay in Thailand for up to four years without report to immigration every 90 days.

BOI plans to organize at least 35 international roadshows to target countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and Europe with the aim of familiarizing investors in those markets with the government’s investment policy.

In Thailand, at least 15 investors’ field trips to visit the East Economic Corridor (EEC) will be held in cooperation between BOI and related organizations.

According to data showed by the investment body, 44 percent of the total application value last year was foreign direct investment.

Investment applications from Japan accounted for 47 per cent of the total FDI in 2017, totaling 133.002 billion baht (4.156 billion U.S. dollars). The second largest foreign investor was Singapore, followed by China.

BOI said 61 percent of the total investment applications were made in high-tech and high value-added industries including automotives, electronics, medical tourism, agricultural tech, food technology, robotics, aviation, bio-chemistry, digital technology and medical services.