BANGKOK, 18 May 2015 - The Thai economy went up slightly in the first quarter of this year, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) reported on Monday.
According to the NESDB, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) from January to March grew just 0.3% from its previous quarter and grew 3% year-on-year. The initial projection was 3.4%.
The agency also slashed its forecasts for exports and economic expansion for 2015, but expected the second quarter to slightly increase from the first.
This year's GDP growth forecast was cut to 3% to 4%, from 3.5% to 4.5%. Meanwhile, export growth was lowered from 3.5% to 0.2%.
The agency said rising government spending had not effectively dealt with declining exports and local demand.
BANGKOK, 18 May 2015 - Minister of Transport ACM Prajin Juntong has revealed that his ministry has submitted to the Prime Minister a progress report on its work related to the improvement of aviation safety in Thailand.
TRANG, 18 May 2015 - Trang airport is now undergoing upgrades on improving passenger capacity to accommodate for more flights, says the Trang airport director.
The Trang airport director Thaworn Saengamphai has revealed that many facilities of the airport are now being upgraded to accommodate the expected increase of passengers with the new terminal building, set to be constructed in the future.
He has said that the ongoing upgrades for aircraft aprons and the taxiway are now 90 percent complete. The completed projects will increase parking capacity from 2 aircrafts to 4 aircrafts, while the province's airport is expected to begin the pre-construction process of a new passenger terminal in 2016, with a 12.5 million baht budget from the Department of Civil Aviation.
The airport has also received the approval for a 12 million baht runway expansion project that will extend the runway length an width to 3,000 meters and 60 meters respectively.
Trang's airport director has said that the number of passengers this year is expected to reach 600,000. Therefore, all flights must be scheduled within a 1 hour gap between one another for the convenience of passengers.
New flight schedules between Bangkok and Trang by Thai Lion Air carrier are set to commence in June, with the frequency of 3 flights per day. This will add up to at least 9 flights, to and from Bangkok from a total of 3 airlines, daily.
Dusit International has announced that 62 Thai hotels around the world have been well-received by foreigners, and the situation has improved for the domestic hospitality sector. However, the industry as a whole has not hiked prices for the past eight years, despite neighboring countries increasing rates by 100-300 percent.
Mr. Chanin Tonawanik, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Dusit Thani Public Company Limited, claimed there are four standout Thai hoteliers abroad. These include Dusit Thani Group, Minor International, Centara Group, and Onyx Hospitality Group.
These major players both invest and manage hotels abroad that have gained recognition for their brand of Thai hospitality. This hospitality has distinguished Thai hotels from those managed by Japanese and Chinese companies, which have been met with limited success. On the other hand, Singapore and Hong Kong hoteliers have continued to prosper abroad.
Domestically, the industry has failed to show growth, which Mr. Chanin attributed to political instability last year. Despite normalizing this year, the hospitality sector has been unable to raise room rates since 2007.
This is in sharp contrast to the situation in neighboring countries. During the same eight-year period, Singapore hotels have increased prices by 200-300 percent, while Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Vietnam have all increased by 100 percent.
Factors that will affect future growth include the Department of Civil Aviation’s recent downgrade by the International Civil Aviation Organization. If the department is unable to rectify the issue, the loss in air traffic will affect tourism in the Kingdom. Indonesia suffered similar repercussions from a civil aviation downgrade five years ago.
BANGKOK, 18 May 2015, The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has said that the government’s handling of Rohingya people could affect the nation's international trade and ties.
President of TNSC, Nopporn Thepsittha, yesterday voiced his opinions on the administration’s measures dealing with the Rohingya people. He said although the government is sincere in solving the problem, it needs international cooperation in order to solve the problem.
He also said the United Nations should be the organization responsible for the stateless Rohingyas, referring to the U.S.’s comment that Thailand should set up a permanent shelter for them.
Although the issue has yet to affect the economic sector, the council urged the administration to tread carefully when dealing with the problem, as it may affect the international trade and ties.
BANGKOK, 18 May 2015 - A vice president of the National Legislative Assembly is confident that all bodies set up after the coup last May will be able to help pull Thailand through all conflicts.
NLA’s 1st Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai said that he believes that the Five Rivers, which include the NLA, the National Reform Council, the Constitution Drafting Committee, the Cabinet, the National Council for Peace and Order will be able to help Thailand overcome all problems and go through a perfect development process.
Mr. Surachai’s comment was heard during his participation in the ceremony to mark the 23rd year of the May 1992 political uprising.
He stated that such missions are for the interest of the people and never for the benefits of any political groups or parties.
Mr. Surachai also called on all Thais to work together to bring Thailand towards real democracy.
BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - The Constitution Drafting Committee expects quite a number of articles of the draft charter to be changed.
Member of the National Reform Council Niran Pantharakit, who is also the secretary-general of the subcommittee in charge of preparation of suggested changes of the draft charter, said that he personally believes there will be a lot of changes to the first draft of the Constitution.
Mr. Niran said that the expected changes can be the removal of the entire article or parts of the some.
He added that, for instance, there should be a study on the suggested electoral system which the references of both the British system and the American system have been included and seem to be impractical in reality.
BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - A public survey shows that about 42% of the respondents would vote for the constitution draft if a public referendum is held now.
The poll on the proposed referendum of the charter draft, conducted by the National Institute for Development Administration, involved 1,250 people over 18 years of age. The respondents have diverse levels of education and occupations nationwide.
Most, or 42.96% of the polled, said they would vote for the charter draft because they wanted the country to progress. 31.76% said they would against it because they believed lawmakers still need to amend certain sections. The rest said they were undecided, or would waive the right to vote, or did not answer.
NARATHIWAT, 17 May 2015 - The Minister of Tourism and Sports has joined the Kolok Thailand-Malaysia cycling event, held in celebration for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday and to tighten the relations between Thailand and Malaysia.
BANGKOK, 17 May 2015 - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited 17 countries in the region to a meeting on the problem of Rohingya illegal immigrants on 29 May 2015.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sek Wannamethi said Minister of Foreign Affairs Thanasak Patimapagorn had confirmed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Thailand had taken care of Rohingya refugees in line with humanitarian principles. Thailand would not force them out of the country, the spokesman said.
Thailand provided food, water and petrol oil for a group of Rohingya people straying in the sea on 15 May 2015 off Satun province, said the spokesman. The immigrants told Thai authorities that they wanted to travel to another country.
Mr. Sek aded that Thailand was ready to take care of Rohingya immigrants and allow them to stay at temporary refugee camps. Thailand needed to abide by its laws otherwise other immigrants might try to enter the country illegally.
The spokesman expressed his belief that all 17 countries would send their representatives to attend the meeting where they were expected to learn about concrete guidelines to tackle the problems of Rihingya illegal immigrants and human trafficking.