BANGKOK, 4 February 2014, The Industrial Promotion Department disclosed that Tourism, Gems & Jewelry, and Food industries had been the most affected industries by the political protest during the last three months.

Mrs.Atchaka Sibunruang, Director-General of Industrial Promotion Department said that the political demonstration in Bangkok during the last three months had already affected industrial sector, especially the SME industry related to tourism. The most affected businesses were Gems & Jewelry and One Tambon One Product (OTOP), while Food Industry came second, stemming from the decreasing number of tourists, and thus lower demand. However, an assessment on the impact was being conducted to work out ways to help these businesses.

Nonetheless, an overall perspective for the SME business is still positive, especially in tourism destination provinces such as Chiang Mai. As a way to remedy the situation, the entrepreneurs would have to adjust themselves, reduce the cost of capital and other essential expenses, including stockpiling of products to minimize risk. In addition, highly skilled labour, machinery improvement, human resources development and expansion of market channels, such as selling products via phone and online as well as expanding the market to ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) should be the strategies to focus on.

Mr. Suthipong Pheunpipop, President of Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) has acknowledged that the political situation clearly affected tourism to Thailand in January, especially the number of tourists from ASEAN countries that fell by 50 percent. In addition the number of Thai tourists traveling abroad dropped 20-25 percent,. while European tourists continued to visit Thailand in large numbers.

The Association expects that this year about 26 million foreign tourists will come to Thailand but thinks that if the political crisis lasts longer than March, the number of tourists this year might not reach that figure . Meanwhile, the private sector would like to ask the government and the PDRC to enter discussions and find a solution together to end the crisis, as soon as possible.

BANGKOK, 4 January 2014  The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has suggested that the government urgently sell rice in the rice support program, emphasizing that the program damaged the Thai economy. 

BANGKOK, 4 February 2014  The Election Commission (EC) has opened a conference to listen to problems facing each electoral unit during the general election on February 2 while confirming readiness to organize a fresh voting if the recent election is nullified.

The conference was chaired by EC Chairman Supachai Somcharoen, with the participation of the directors of all electoral units in 77 provinces. The objectives of the event were to acknowledge and gather obstacles in the officials’ operations during the previous poll and to prepare for make-up elections in areas where voting was disrupted by protesters.

The EC Chairman affirmed that the commission would try its best to arrange re-elections in all of the problematic areas within the timeframe stipulated by law. Nonetheless, he noted that the process could not be rushed as the EC would have to exercise utmost caution and ensure no violations of the electoral law.

As for the question whether or not the February 2 election would be voided, Mr Supachai said the answer would rest within the Constitutional Court’s verdict. If the court decided to nullify the poll, he assured that the EC would be ready to arrange a new election.

CHIANG MAI, 5 February 2014  The Chiang Mai passport office is currently processing just 200 passport requests per day, due to more than a month of closure of the Department of Consular Affairs headquarters in Bangkok. 

BANGKOK, 5 February 2014  Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's assets have increased by 56 million baht, while Suthep Thaugsuban's debts have gone up by 276 million baht, according to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). 

BANGKOK, 4 February 2014 The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has reported that the water levels in major dams are on a sharp decline stemming from severe drought while farmers are urged to slow down their cultivation of off-season crops to conserve water. 

Bangkok, 4 February 2014 The Election Commission (EC) has revealed a number of cases under investigation for violating election law in nine constituencies 

BANGKOK, 3 February 2014  The situation at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Muang Thong Thani, was tense as the PDRC protesters continued to close the entrance and exit even after the cabinet meeting had been adjourned. 

BANGKOK, 4 February 2014The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Monday surrounded the premises of a building being used to host the weekly Cabinet meeting for 5 hours to pressure the cabinet ministers to cancel the meeting.