BOT opposes opening financial
sector to US competition
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has said the country is not
ready to fully liberalize its financial services sector, as demanded by
American negotiators working on a free trade agreement between Thailand and
the United States.
BOT Governor Pridiyadhorn Dvakula said all domestic
commercial banks had just begun to adhere to a national financial
institution master plan, and need time to adjust and strengthen before being
able to compete on a level-playing field with foreign competitors.
The central bank governor said that he shared the same
view of the government in that financial services are a matter of national
security, citing China, Australia and New Zealand as examples of stronger
economies that have not fully deregulated their financial sectors.
He said another issue is the gap between branches of Thai
banks operating in urban and rural areas.
In economies like Singapore or Hong Kong, it was easier
for the banks to adjust because they were all on the same footing.
“I insist that there is no financial sector liberalization under the
FTA. We and the government see eye to eye on this,” the governor said.
Auditor-General’s Office to closely monitor mega infrastructure projects
The Office of the Auditor-General will closely monitor the government’s
Bt 1.7 trillion spending program to develop massive infrastructure projects,
as well as overseeing how the local administration spends the funds.
Lt. Gen. Somchai Wiroonphol, spokesman for the Office of
the Auditor-General, said the task will focus on whether or not the
investments yield value for money, and it will present its evaluation to the
Also under scrutiny will be spending at the local
administrative level, mainly that of Tambon Administrative Organizations.
To pave the way for greater public participation in, and understanding of
the audit, the OAG is planning to set up a squad of 40 officials who can be
highly mobile in checking tip-offs on corruption from members of the Thai
public, said Lt. Gen. Somchai. (TNA)
Cabinet to consider emergency Eastern Seaboard water
The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry will ask the
cabinet on Tuesday for an emergency budget of Bt350 million to solve the
problem of water shortage in the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate, home of
Thailand’s largest industrial plants.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Khun Ying Sudarat
Keyuraphan said today that the money would be spent on building six water
pumping systems designed to fill reservoirs during the rainy season.
She said the state-run Royal Irrigation Department (RID)
was certain that the implementation of the plan would enable some 40 million
cubic meters of water to be stored annually.
Khun Ying Sudarat said she believed it would be ‘more
than satisfactory’ if only half that amount could be stored at the new
Her remarks were made after she attended a meeting with
senior officials on water shortages in the Eastern Seaboard in this
According to Khun Ying Sudarat, few changes would need to
be made in the government’s existing plan to deal with the problem, such
as water diversion from the Bang Pakong River, which would now require East
Water Public Co., Ltd. to accelerate laying its water pipeline by November.
The RID must find measures to postpone the flow of saltwater into the Bang
Pakong River, which normally occurs in November of each year, so that fresh
water could be pumped for consumption.
Khun Ying Sudarat said she would ask industrial operators
in the area to map their consumption plans, as well as making consumers
understand that the planned water diversion is meant for holding it in
reservoirs for future use. (TNA)
Current account likely
to be in surplus in July
Bank of Thailand’s Governor M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula
last week disclosed that the current account balance in July was likely to
be in surplus following a significant decrease in the trade deficit for that
Speaking after delivering a lecture on the country’s
economic conditions to Thai ambassadors of many countries, he said the
central bank believed foreign investors still had confidence in the Thai
They were keen on investing in Thailand because the
country’s international reserve is as high as US$48 billion,
non-performing loans (NPLs) have decreased, operating results of
private-sector companies have improved, and overall production capacities
Given these factors, the BOT believes that the Thai
economy has enough flexibility to cope with possible economic volatilities.
Pridiyathorn said the decline in the trade deficit for
July has lived up to the expectations of all parties, but it is just a
figure for one month. Figures in the following months will have to be
He said the improvement in the trade deficit could
possibly turn the current account in July to be in surplus.
However, it cannot be denied that the current account for
the whole year will be in deficit.
Previously, the central bank forecasted that the current
account for the entire year would be approximately US$3-4 billion in
deficit, as the account in June was US$1.5 billion in the red.
The BOT chief said that in order to cope with the economic woes in the
long run, Thailand would have to stress on developing competency, boosting
competitiveness, adding value to products, particularly in the farming
sector, and locating new markets with growth potential. (TNA)
Petronas 4 x 4 caravan visits Chaophya Park Hotel
J. Wood (standing 1st right) general manager of the Chaophya Park Hotel,
Bangkok, recently welcomed the 24 vehicle caravan of Petronas Adventure Team
Malaysia, led by Halim Abdul Rahman, general manager, during their 40 days
and 40 nights caravan trip taking them to the foothills of the Himalayas,
Laos, Cambodia and Thailand on a goodwill and charity fund raising visit.
Also seen in the photo is Dheerawat Bhunlapiwat (standing 2nd left),
executive assistant manager - sales & marketing of the Chaophya Park
Grand Mercure brand enters Thailand
Accor’s Grand Mercure brand recently entered the
Thailand market with the official re-branding of the Fortune Hotel Bangkok
as the Grand Mercure Fortune Bangkok.
Following an extensive renovation project, the property
is offering six restaurants and bars, an entertainment complex with pub and
21 room karaoke outlet, fitness center, spa, and a ballroom which
accommodates up to 1,000 participants theatre-style, supported by eight
The hotel is next to the Bangkok Mass Rapid Transit Phra
Ram 9 Station and adjacent to Fortune Town Shopping Mall. General manager,
Stanley Chan, said: “The hotel is located within 25 minutes of both Don
Muang and the new Suvarnabhumi International Airports, plus all major
convention venues around Bangkok.” (TTG Asia)
Hoteliers receive Bt 3.5 billion in loans to revive post-tsunami business
Financial institutions have approved more than Bt 3.5
billion to businesspeople whose hotels and resorts at Khao Lak in
Thailand’s southern resort province of Phang-nga were destroyed by last
Meanwhile, the government has already provided over Bt
150 million to help small-scale travel businesses and fishermen recover
their losses and get their businesses moving again.
Phang-nga Governor Anuwat Metheewiboonwut said that
financial institutions gave over Bt 3.5 billion in long-term loans to
rebuild 63 hotels and resorts as part of the rehabilitation plan for the
tsunami-hit Khao Lak area.
Some Bt 2.6 billion in loans requested for the remaining
30 hotels and resorts are now under consideration. Unfortunately, according
to Anuwat, delays are being caused by the complicated processes of
He said Bt 34 million in government funds was set-aside
for small-scale entrepreneurs in the tourism sector.
To date, the government has spent Bt 120 million to help
fishermen and Bt 4 million to help owners of tourist boats. (TNA)
Global summit to debate tourism industry strategic response to international terrorism
In response to recent terrorist bombings, the program of
the 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism is being adjusted to include
a special plenary session to debate a “Strategic Tourism Industry Response
to International Terrorism.”
The 3rd Global Summit on Peace through Tourism is being
held October 2-5, 2005 at the award winning Royal Cliff Beach Resort and
Conference Center in Pattaya.
A plenary session to be moderated by H.E. Akel Biltaji,
special advisor to H.M King Abdullah II, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will
focus on the experience of destinations that have successfully recovered
from terrorist attacks and the actions and strategies that they employed.
More significantly, the panel will share their wisdom and
insights on protecting against terrorist attacks - and the challenges to the
travel and tourism industry in addressing the root causes of terrorism in
contributing to a long term solution to international violence in all its
forms. Invited speakers for this special session include travel and tourism
industry leaders from countries that have experienced terrorist bombings.
Theme of the summit is “One Earth One Family: Travel
& Tourism - Serving a Higher Purpose.” Its aim is to develop a 21st
Century agenda for peace through tourism that addresses key global issues of
our time including: poverty reduction; healing the wounds of conflict;
promoting international understanding, tolerance and cooperation;
environmental enhancement and preservation of biodiversity; and a sustained
travel industry response to the social and economic revitalization of
tsunami affected countries.
World leaders and statesmen in the travel and tourism
industry will be featured as keynote speakers, as well as leaders from the
areas of culture, environment, sport, poverty reduction and sustainable
development. Concurrent sessions and workshops will be held on a range of
topics related to the aim and goals of the summit.
The summit is being organized by the International
Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT), supported by the Thailand
Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and with the support of the World
Tourism Organization (WTO). Sponsors include: Resorts Condominiums
International (RCI), Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE); Africa Travel
Association; and Media Sponsors: eTurbo News, Travel World News, World
Tourism Directory, Africa Travel Magazine, Travel Weekly, Tourism &
Wildlife India, and Travel Talk Radio.
More than 40 prestigious international organizations have
announced their support for the summit. This is in addition to 36 major
international organizations that are members of the IIPT Coalition of
Partners for World Peace through Tourism. Members of both ‘Supporting
Organizations’ and IIPT’s Coalition of Partners are entitled to special
discounted registration fees.
International organizations that are interested in
supporting the 3rd Global Summit - its theme, aim and goals, are invited to
contact IIPT, email address: [email protected]
Summit outcomes will include a “21st Century Agenda for
Peace through Tourism” in support of the U.N. Decade of Peace and
Non-Violence for the Children of the World and the Millennium Development
For more information please visit website: www.iipt.org
or contact: [email protected] or fax: + 1-802 253-2645; tel. + 1 802 253-2658.
Changing Asian demographics affect travellers’ profile
The number of Asians who can afford to travel will grow
from 384 million now to 639 million by 2014, based on GDP growth of five per
cent per annum. A key segment that tourism operators should target is the
“working age empty nesters and older singles”, according to Asian
Demographics Hong Kong-based chief technical officer and director, Dr. Clint
“This group is not so constrained to travel as their
kids have left home or have become more independent economically. They are
near finishing their mortgages and most, even in China, will have bought
their consumer durables such as televisions, and in fact, there can be more
income, not less, if the spouse decides to go back to work,” he said.
In fact, those marketing to Chinese travelers were making
a mistake if they simply targeted the wealthy Chinese. One key message Dr
Clint sent across at this morning’s travel forum organized by MasterCard
International was that while the Asian markets were indeed growing, they had
become more complex and the customer profiles were changing.
In China, for instance, he would forget the affluent
market and go for the middle-age empty nesters with a household income of
around RMB40,000 (Bt.200,000), “where the growth is”.
“I would then do a P&G (Procter & Gamble) which
designed the product to meet the price point of what would appeal to the
RMB40,000 group. If you can make a profit margin with that, that is what you
should be aiming at,” he said.
Dr Clint also warned against treating China and India as
similar markets. “China has a middle income group. That is the group that
has disposable income and it helps China be politically stable and drives
the economy. India is the opposite - it has no middle income to drive the
economy. China’s average household size is three, in India it’s five. I
would say the priority today is China, and India in 10 years time.” (TTG