BANGKOK, 9 April 2015, The Ministry of Tourism and and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand are joining hands developing tourist spots in response particularly to Russian tourists' demands.

According to the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the new tourist spots are aimed at drawing tourists from the already overpopulated areas such as Bangkok and Pattaya to other cities

The ministry plans to come up with traveling itinerary that particularly responds to Russian tourists' demands; for example, tie-in weight loss programs, which target female Russian travelers. Ms. Kobkarn expects the plan to boost the number of Russian tourists, which currently stands at approximately 1 million, by 5% next year.

A Thai-Russian joint committee will soon be formed, which will be tasked with formulating marketing plans to entice more Russian travelers, especially those who like sport and those traveling with family members, to visit Thailand, said the minister.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2015 - The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has utilized the power granted to it under Section 44 of the interim charter to issue a new order pertaining to the protection of public interest on Wednesday.

In issuing the NCPO order no. 4/2558, the council said that there remained widespread perpetration of actions that violated public interest while law enforcement has not been optimal. Consequently, members of the public continue to be afflicted by matters such as encroachment on public space, national parks and forest preserves, resulting in obstruction of traffic. Therefore, the NCPO deemed it necessary to come up with measures that would augment the enforcement of law.

NCPO order no. 4/2558 stipulates that Cabinet ministers may seek the assistance of military officials to ensure efficient enforcement of law. A minister would make such request through the minister of defense, and the latter would assign military officials to the requested task. Full authority normally vested in state officials of various agencies may also be given to the military officials assigned to assist the minister, pending approval of the head of the National Council for Peace and Order.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2015 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is encouraging the public to preserve old traditions and promote family activities during the Songkran festival this year.

In his message to the public on the occasion of the annual Songkran festival, General Prayut indicated that Songkran was an important period when family members are afforded the opportunity to get together for activities such as alms-making, Buddha image bathing, listening to religious sermons, seeking blessings from seniors and water splashing. These activities invariably strengthen relations between family members as well as create peace of mind for each individual.

The prime minister indicated that the government has a policy of preserving, restoring and propagating Thai cultural heritage, which would provide the tourism sector with a sustainable selling point. Members of the public are urged to carry out each Songkran activity politely, don appropriate clothes and be mindful of the safety of others and themselves.

On this occasion, Gen. Prayut also wished everybody happiness and prosperity

BANGKOK, 9 April 2015  - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is set to launch Songkran celebrations in 16 major provinces nationwide, focusing on cultural uniqueness of each area in line with the government’s cultural promotion policy.

Ms Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, stated that the Grand Songkran Festival 2015 will take place from April 11 to 20 in 20 locations of 16 provinces, such as Bangkok, Chon Buri, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Surat Thani, Phuket, Songkhla and Samut Songkhram.

According to the Deputy Governor, the event will be divided into two parts. One will be in compliance with the government’s Discover Thainess campaign, featuring traditional celebrations for Songkran and highlighting local cultural identity.

The other part will provide an alternative for revelers to enjoy the fun in water-splashing activities in eight designated areas, including Khao San Road and Silom Road in Bangkok, roads along the city moat of Chiang Mai, Khao Niao Road in Khon Kaen, Patong Beach in Phuket and Niphat Uthit Road in Hat Yai, Songkhla.

The TAT estimates the tourist number during the Songkran holiday between April 11 and 15 at nearly 2.63 million, an increase of 12 percent, generating about 14.5 billion baht in revenue. The number of foreigners is also projected to rise 39 percent to 470,000, thanks to recovery in the East Asian and ASEAN markets.

BANGKOK, 9 April 2015 - The Minister of Interior has presided over the official launch of the Directing Center for Road Accident Prevention and Reduction, which will help ensure strict enforcement of traffic laws during the Songkran Festival.

This morning, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda chaired the opening ceremony for the Directing Center for Road Accident Prevention and Reduction, set to be active throughout the Songkran long holiday this year from April 9 to 15. The center is given the responsibility of coordinating with other relevant agencies and units in an effort to stave off road accidents and minimize casualties.

The center will also ensure that road rules are strictly abided by and stern penalties are imposed on violators. Meanwhile, ten dangerous behaviors on the road have been compiled into a guideline which will be referred to by the center.

Such undesired behaviors consist of speeding, driving in the wrong direction, running of traffic lights, failure to fasten seatbelts, failure to carry a driver’s license, abrupt overtaking, drunk driving, failure to wear helmets, reckless motorcycle riding and use of mobile phones behind the wheel.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - A committee under the National Reform Council is urging for the setting up of an efficient public health service system with the people at the centre of all improvement.

Associate Professor Porapan Punyaratabandhu, chairwoman of the NRC’s committee on public health reform, said that the committee has completed its proposed reform plan and agreed that Thailand’s public health system should put the people at the center first.

Mrs. Porapan elaborated that, in doing so, the health service should be made available within a close proximity of all Thais of all levels and all the services must be extended to cover not only physical conditions but also mental and social elements.

She added that the reform of the system should also lead to the encouragement of the use of traditional Thai medicine, alternative medicine, and local wisdom related to medical practice.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - The cabinet has approved measures proposed by the Interior Ministry in order to keep road accidents at minimum during Songkran Festival, Government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalap said on Tuesday after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The five measures aim to ensure effective management of traffic flows, improved road conditions, readiness of vehicles and road users and contingency plans to handle road accidents and casualties.

The five measures will be applied both before and after Songkran. April 1-8 will be the preparatory period for all the measures while April 9-15 will be when the measures are seriously implemented.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - The Deputy Prime Minister and NCPO’s spokesman assured ambassadors and foreign media today that the use of Article 44 is only to maintain order, enacted with respect to human rights principles. 

RAYONG, 7 April 2015 - "The 5th Amazing Winter Flowers Festival with Tulips in Full Bloom" will be held from April 8-17 in Rayong in order to showcase Thailand’s success in growing cold-climate plants by using the cold energy technology of the PTT's Gas Separation Plant in Rayong province.

Apart from tulips, the event features a wide range of winter flowers such as lilies, Amaryllis, Gladiolus and temperate fruits such as strawberries. The 1,200 square-meter exhibition is divided into six zones as follows: the Auspicious Flower Garden in Honor of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn where visitors can also sign their names to offer felicitations to the Princess, the Non-Native Species of Flowers Zone, the Green Garden, the Applied Garden, the Hanging Flowers Garden and the Garden of the Future.

"The 5th Amazing Winter Flowers Festival in Rayong” is held at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden in Rayong, in conjunction with the Princess’s 5th cycle birthday anniversary. It is open from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. Entry fee is 20 baht each. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Wang Chan Hospital. For more information, please call 038-915314.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is on his two-day official visit to Thailand from April 7-8, the first visit to Thailand by a Prime Minister of the Russian Federation in 25 years, Government Spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalap said on Tuesday.

Mr. Medvedev is here as guest of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both are scheduled to meet in plenary and group sessions and will witness the signing of several agreements, after which a press conference will be held.

The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand will also host a luncheon in honor of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and his delegation.

During the visit, memoranda of understanding on cooperation in machinery, engineering and advanced navigation technologies will be signed by the Thai and Russian private sectors. These memorandums will provide frameworks for further business cooperation between Thai and Russian companies concerned, which will contribute to an overall increase in bilateral trade and investment between Thailand and Russia.