Wednesday, 08 April 2015 11:40

Tourism boom expected by Songkran holidays

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - Expansion in the tourism sector is expected during the upcoming Songkran holidays, with an increase in Thai and foreign tourists, says MOTS Spokesman.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2015 - The government has clarified details pertaining to the NCPO's announcement no. 3/2558 and the use of Section 44 of the interim constitution to foreign diplomats and press members, emphasizing the need for the special law in maintaining orderliness.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam and representatives of relevant government agencies indicated to foreign representatives that is was necessary for the government to use Section 44 to facilitate orderliness during the political transition period, and that it will be used sparingly and cautiously, and consideration will always be given to human rights.

Meanwhile, Colonel Winthai Suwaree, spokesperson to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), explained that Section 44 empowers state officials to suppress wrongdoings related to lese majeste affairs, internal security affairs, firearms and violation of orders issued by the NCPO. He added that the NCPO announcement no. 3/2558 afforded the authorities a special tool to provide for the safety of the lives and assets of members of the public, and that it would only impact ill-intentioned individuals who deliberately conduct acts of unrest.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2015 (NNT) The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB) indicated on Tuesday the tourism sector was driving the slow recovery of the Thai economy and that GDP expansion would likely be 3.5% for this year.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the standing committee, composed of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and Thai Bankers' Association deemed that tourism will be the main driver of economic progress in 2015 and that foreign tourist arrivals are expected to reach at least 28 million visits.

The JSCCIB indicated that although as much as 43% of the annual budget has been disbursed, it would like the government to expedite budget disbursement in order to further stimulate the economy. The committee expects state sector investment projects to start generating cash flow in the third and fourth quarters, whereas private sector investments into special economic zones and BOI-endorsed investments should generate cash flow by the middle of the year. These driving factors, combined with the strength of the tourism sector, are expected to enable the Thai economy to expand by 3.5% in 2015.

Meanwhile, the standing committee has slashed its export growth projection to just 1% from the earlier figure of 3.5%. Exports to the United States grew roughly 2% but this expansion was offset by the negative growth of exports to Europe and Japan. For the first two months of 2015, exports growth was a negative 4.82%. As a means to address this shortfall, the committee disclosed it would discuss new markets penetration and products development with the Ministry of Commerce, especially for Thai food products.

TAK, 8 April 2015,  The province of Tak is holding a fair introducing Thai OTOP products to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The event, held at the lawn in front of the King Taksin Maharat Shrine in Muang District, is running until Friday April 10th.

According to the provincial administration office, the fair highlights items produced locally through local wisdom, creating jobs and income for the residents. The fair also provides an additional distribution channel for OTOP goods and hands-on experiences for amateur entrepreneurs.

The office said vendors can take this opportunity to ready themselves for the upcoming AEC, fulfilling their roles as border traders. Several OTOP items can be further developed to compete in ASEAN markets.

The fair is expected to stimulate the local economy and tourism in the province as well.

BANGKOK, 8 April 2015 - The lifting of martial law is expected to result in more foreign tourists visiting Thailand during the Songkran festival, whereas Japan and South Korea's banning of Thai chartered flights should not affect foreign tourist arrivals into the kingdom, said Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) acting governor Chuthaporn Roengronasa.

According to Ms. Chuthaporn, the TAT expects no less than 300 chartered flights to enter Thailand between April 11-19. This influx of visitors would push the number of foreign tourist arrivals during the Songkran period to roughly 500,000. About 14.5 billion baht of revenue is expected to be generated as a result. The projected number of foreign tourist arrivals during this Songkran exceeds last year's figure by 30%. According to the TAT acting governor, the expected rise of foreign tourist numbers may be attributed to the lifting of martial law and a more stable political climate.

Commenting on Japan and South Korea's banning of Thai chartered flights, the TAT chief said the ban's effect will be more apparent on outbound flights from Thailand to the two countries whereas tourists from Japan and South Korea will still be able to enter Thailand via routine flights, and chartered flights originating from the two countries.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - The Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects to see a healthy cash flow of 14 billion baht generated during the Songkran festival.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports officials have presented traditional Thai towels and scented water to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet members ahead of the cabinet meeting today.

The Ministry is expecting a higher number of tourist visits this year. Around 500,000 foreign tourists and 2 million Thais have been forecast to join the water festival, which will begin from April 11th – 19th this year.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Korbkarn Wattanarangkul, said Thailand expects the number of tourist arrivals to rise to 28 million this year as targeted, after martial law has been lifted.

For safety purpose, Commuters can now have their vehicles checked at no charge before embarking on a long journey upcountry at all 55 PTT gas stations in Bangkok from today on until April 10th.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy is launching an energy saving campaign during the long holiday period, during which electricity consumption is expected to skyrocket as the mercury rises.

According to the Ministry, Myanmar will halt delivering natural gas to Thailand temporarily as it is scheduled to conduct its annual pipeline maintenance during the period.

Prime Minister Prayut is also encouraging Thai people to save energy during the summer months by cutting the usage by half. He added that energy cost is one of the factors affecting the Thai economy.

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) is warning people to beware of summer thunderstorms during April 7-10 and stay well away from big trees as well as unstable billboards and disused buildings.

Deputy Director-General of DDPM Anusorn Kaewkangwan, says the summer thunderstorms, as well as isolated gusty winds and hail, are expected in the North, the Northeast, the Central region, and the East of the country, due to a high pressure system descending from China.

DDPM thus ordered its subsidiaries in 53 provinces across Thailand and thirteen DDPM Subdistrict Offices, to be on standby to deliver assistance to people affected by damaged houses, unstable old buildings, and falling trees and billboards.

Village headmen are also assigned to keep their villagers informed of possible dangers arriving with the changing weather. However, the weather's effect is predicted to be short term.

During Apr 11-13, another high pressure system from China will extend southwards to cover Thailand, resulting in thunderstorms and wind gusts. Therefore people are strongly advised to check on their vehicle's condition before making trips during the Songkran Festival as they may face heavy rain in some areas.

CHIANG MAI, 7 April 2015 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday inaugurated an event celebrating the past 100 years of Chiang Mai City.

At the '100 years of Chiang Mai heritage' event, General Prayut observed an exhibit on the Lanna way of life, local healing arts, local textiles, local art forms, and local craftsmanship. The prime minister also planted Negkassar trees and had a knot tied to his wrist in accordance with northern customs.

The event, held at the Khuang Phra Chao Lanna Buddhist site in Chiang Mai province, was held with an aim to sustainably restore arts and culture that prevailed in Chiang Mai over the past 100 years. The event was also held with the hope of restoring the linkage between the home, the temple and the school. Event organizers also hoped to make the Khuang Phra Chao Lanna site into a northern center for Buddhists.

Tuesday, 07 April 2015 13:32

101 panhandlers arrested in Bangkok

BANGKOK, 7 April 2015 - The Metropolitan Police have recently arrested 101 panhandlers in Bangkok, in accordance with the government policy to address human trafficking as a national agenda.

Police General Siwara Rangsiphraphamonkun, Metropolitan Police commissioner, disclosed on Monday that of the 101 persons arrested, 78 were Thai and 23 were foreigners. Those apprehended were categorized into three groups, namely those who played music on loudspeakers to beg for money, those who begged for money using physical deformities, and those who were mentally ill.

According to the police, interrogators will profile the panhandlers, all of whom will be prosecuted in accordance with the 1941 law on the control of beggars. Thais will be sent to the homeless shelter in Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani, which is run by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The foreign beggars arrested will also be prosecuted for illegal entry and will be expelled from Thailand.

LAMPANG, 7 April 2015 - Locals in Lampang are reportedly still burning woods in Chaeson National Park, causing widespread bushfires in the area.

More than 20 rangers fully equipped with firefighting gears were yesterday sent to put out a wildfire south of a waterfall in Chaeson National Park. The operation was a success despite the difficulty in reaching the area which was a steep watershed terrain.

The officials had to travel by foot for a kilometer in order to get to the site. The fire covered an area of about 10 rai, causing thick smoke.

According to the officials, locals residing near the national park often look for food or other items in the forest. They use fire for land clearing for settlements, crop land and fuel wood cutting. The rangers leave with no choice but to fight fires nearly everyday.