Bangkok Airways plans
The privately-owned Bangkok Airways has proposed to
construct a new airport in Chantaburi in the Eastern Seaboard aiming to
create a shortcut to the region. When finished, the new airport will be
the third to be operated by Thailand’s second largest airline, after
Sukhothai and Samui. The plan is yet to be approved by the transport and
The new airport, which proposes to be on a 600-rai plot
of land, will facilitate the growing tourism business in far eastern
Thailand. 100-200 foreign tourists are expected to visit Chantaburi and
Trad provinces each day over the next 5 years, said a Bangkok Airways
source. The airport will connect Chantaburi and Trad with Sukhothai, Samui
and the rest of the country.
The airline said it would spend up to Baht 350 million
in constructing the new airport.
Trad has the potential as being the gateway to southwestern Cambodia
where businesses and investments are growing very rapidly.
Y2K bite: Estimation
claims Kingdom to lose billions of baht to millennium bug
A recent estimation by the airline industry claims that
Thailand will suffer huge income losses from tourism as airlines suspend a
number of flights to the Kingdom at the year-end in order to prevent
possible effects of the Y2K threat. The flying industry won’t be the
only one to suffer; all tourism-related industries and services will feel
the effects when several thousand tourists suddenly disappear from the
The national flag carrier, Thai Airways International,
is expected to lose hundreds of millions from suspended THAI flights to
and from Europe between December 31, 1999, and January 1, 2000, says the
estimation. THAI on November 18 announced cancellations of 19 flights to
and from European destinations at the turn of the century. It is expected
that THAI will lose more than 3,000 passengers in just two days.
THAI would have to reschedule a number of flights on
other routes - with losses yet to be accounted for. Thousands more
passengers have postponed bookings of late December and early January
Duty-free shops at Bangkok Airport are also expected to lose Baht 6
million a day.
CSS turns back on
hundreds of troubled Chrysler units
Chrysler Sales and Service Co has changed its mind on
its policy towards about 700 units of Chrysler cars imported by former
dealer, Thai-Chrysler Automotive Co, which had been in trouble with
creditor banks. All the CBU Chrysler units were impounded by the customs
department. CSS will take no action on the cars, though it initially
considered a buy-out option.
According to David Howard, chairman, CSS proposed to
TCA creditor banks that CSS bring out all the CBU units to sell, for fear
that auctions could adversely affect marketing the Chrysler cars in
Thailand. CSS would, on the other hand, introduce new Chrysler models to
the market in a motor show early next month.
About 200 units of the impounded cars are old model
Grand Cherokees, and another 500 units are Neon sedans.
CSS has raised its sales target from 700 units to 1,200 units in 2000
despite the price hike. Grand Cherokee with a 4.7-liter V8 engine will be
introduced for the first time in the upcoming motor show.
Viagra still on
top after one year
Pfizer’s anti impotency drug, Viagra, has become the
leading seller after just one year in the market. The drug currently
controls 95% of the market segment since it was introduced in late 1998,
the year general manager for Thailand and Burma of Pfizer International,
Behan D Zaim, said to be the toughest year during which drug sales fell
more than 50%.
The Viagra pill is convenient to take, while its
competitors need insertion or injection, said Ms Zaim. Sales of Viagra
rapidly grew after the public health ministry lifted restrictions, and
Viagra can be prescribed by any doctor, and is available in general drug
stores. However, Pfizer netted only Baht 50 million to Baht 60 million
from Viagra sales in Thailand - below their expectations - Ms Zaim said.
Recent research by Pfizer found that more than 3 million Thai males
aged 40-70 years have suffered from the erectile dysfunction syndrome, and
only 1% to 2% of them were treated properly.
to quickly expand into provinces
Jasmine Internet, the latest company to join the
Internet service market, has come up with an aggressive expansion plan to
cover most of the country’s 76 provinces in 2000, to utilize the huge
telephone network the group owns. Jasmine last month bought Infonews
Internet from ailing Wattachak with high hopes to spur sales of its 1.5
million telephone lines in the provinces under Thai Telephone and
Somsak Pattana-anek, an executive director, said
Jasmine would also expand its international connecting bandwidth to 8
megabytes per second before the end of this year, and will further
increase to 16 Mbps early next year. The connectivity will be maximized to
45 Mbps within 2000, while connecting phone lines will be increased from
currently 600 lines to 2,500 lines, Somsak said.
Jasmine Group also owns a Vsat network through Acument,
a subsidiary, and owns a synchronous digital hierarchy hi-speed
communications network through Smart Highway Co.
The group believes its huge telecommunication networks will enhance JI
Net connecting quality. Shin Corp’s CS Internet said its network already
cover 75 provinces.
Hotel industry to
set own standards in region
Hoteliers in Southeast Asia are in an advanced stage
towards setting their own standards in the industry, which could be much
different from the ones set by the West. Citing climatic differences, for
instance, hoteliers said standardization criteria set by the West were not
practical, and in some cases were obsolete. Management of Asian hotels
will gather in Singapore early this month to discuss the matter.
According to Prakit Chinamornpong, secretary-general of
the Thai Hotels Association, about a dozen representatives from THA,
airlines, travel agencies and academics from Thailand will participate in
the conference. The Thai side has proposed a standardization scheme for
meetings of the Asia Hotel & Restaurant Association held recently in
Bali, Indonesia, Prakit said.
Some of the changes included: Low-priced packages of airfares and hotel
rooms are planned under a ‘Hotel Plus’, and ‘Airline Plus’
cooperation among tourism industries in the region. Airfare for flights
between capital cities around Southeast Asia could be as low as US$90, and
a hotel room at US$60. THAI, Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian
Airlines System, and Royal Brunei Air, will all participate in the
‘Airline Plus’ campaign.
to adjust to new environment
Distillers of major premium scotches are set to make an
about face on their products to adapt to a new marketing environment after
sales of the whiskies sharply fell during the first 6 months this year.
Johnnie Walker, both Black and Red Labels, would soon come out with a new
look, aiming to catch the eyes of those in the low to middle income
markets. Chivas Regal is also set to make changes, industry sources said.
Premium whiskies, which once conquered the Thai market,
have lost a huge market stake to cheaper scotches, especially the
so-called ‘secondary whiskies’, which sell for about Baht 200 a
bottle. The financial crisis changed the behavior of whisky drinkers, as
many of them turned to ‘white whisky’ - which includes Vodka - as an
alternative, the sources said.
Premium whiskies controlled 60% of the market 4-5 years ago before
falling to 19% in 1998, one year after the financial crash in Thailand.
The market share of all premium scotches fell further to 13.5% in the
first 6 months this year. Standard whiskies currently control about 11.5%
of the market, while secondary whiskies take the rest.
opens Thai operation
Sony Singapore recently started new business in the
Kingdom - under the name Sony Capital (Thailand) - in which Sony Thai has
been the clear leader in the electronics consuming market. Shinsuke
Yoshida, managing director of Sony Thai Co, said though the Thai
subsidiary has been registered since early this year, the service was not
kick-started until recently.
With short-term funds by Sony Capital, Sony operations
here can enjoy financial support from their Japanese parent. Because of
the fact that Sony Capital had been assigned to be the financial support
center, and that it had no other profit making purposes, Sony operations
could enjoy short-term loans with specially low interest rates, he said.
Sony’s financial arm is also the group’s ‘bank’
which provides a higher deposit rate.
There are currently 6 companies in Sony Group in Thailand.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment is
drawing up a master plan to accelerate the development of the
government-sponsored Software Park over the next 5-10 years, and the plan
will be submitted to the cabinet for approval within one month. From next
year, software exports will be increased to Baht 300 million a year.
According to Science, Technology and Environment
Minister Athit Urairat, the cabinet will be asked to allocate Baht 700
million in fiscal budget to support the development plan, which will be
concrete, and practical. Under the new development plan, the space of
Software Park will be expanded to 17,000 square meters, from 14,000 square
meters, to facilitate more developers.
There are currently 20 software companies in the Software Park and 20
more are expected to go there in the middle of 2000. The Park is designed
to house up to 100 software companies when the construction is completed.
Copyright 1999 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Updated by Boosiri Suansuk