HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Consumer confidence index continued to drop in October

India-Thailand to expand bilateral cooperation

Buy Thai - PM urges people to purchase community products as New Year gifts

Plans being made for Thai silk, leatherwear and the tuk tuk to gain international renown

FedEx wins gold at Top Advertising Contest of Thailand Awards 2002

11th International Fishing Competition held in Phuket

Air New Zealand increases capacity on international routes

Consumer confidence index continued to drop in October

According to a recent report put out by the University of Chamber of Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center, the consumer confidence index in October dropped for the second consecutive month. This signals that consumers are becoming uncertain about the local economic situation.

Thanawat Polachai, director of the center, said its survey showed the consumer confidence index on the country’s economy, employment opportunity and future income had declined to 82.2, 71.8 and 103.6 from 84.9, 74.2, and 154 respectively in September.

Thanawat said, “The decrease in the confidence index for two months in a row has us worried. We believe the fall is caused by fears of global economic uncertainty and a possible war between the United States and Iraq, as well as lower interest rates locally and in the US.” He said these factors have lessened people’s confidence in consumption and caused them to spend more cautiously.

Thanawat recommended that government should try to boost the public confidence if the war breaks out. It must also continue to adopt monetary and fiscal policies for solving economic problems. He projected the country’s economy will grow around 4% this year and continue to expand around 4.2% next year.

Thailand’s export is expected to grow 4.8% this year and 4% next year with inflation staying at 0.5% and 1.5% respectively. (TNA)

India-Thailand to expand bilateral cooperation

India and Thailand will expand bilateral cooperation in communication and other areas. In his weekly radio program, “Premier Thaksin Talks with the Public”, the Thai leader said he and his India counterpart Vajpayee agreed that India and Thailand will increase flights to facilitate passengers and tourists of both countries, as the Thai government is planning to promote the country’s northern resort province of Chiang Mai as a new aviation hub in the region.

The Indian leader made a recent stop over in Thailand on route to New Delhi after attending the first ASEAN-India summit in Phnom Penh, and met with Premier Thaksin to discuss issues on bilateral ties and cooperation.

The two leaders also discussed a plan to build a road-link between the two countries through Myanmar. The cross-border road would link Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, a major industrial estate, with India through Kanchanaburi province of Thailand and a seaport in Myanmar.

The Indian leader also expressed his interest in the Asian Bond initiative proposed by Premier Thaksin, saying that New Delhi would further discuss the idea in more detail with Thai authorities. Thaksin raised the initiative during his discussions with his Indian counterpart and asked for New Delhi’s support for the idea. Chinese and Japanese leaders have also expressed their interest in the Asia Bond initiative.

The Indian leader also suggested that India head task forces devoted to communication and bio-technology of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). (TNA)

Buy Thai - PM urges people to purchase community products as New Year gifts

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is urging Thai people to support the ‘One Village, One Product’ scheme by giving community products as New Year presents. The Thai leader said that by supporting fellow Thais, citizens would not only help expand the domestic market but also spur economic activities. He said the people involved in these projects need encouragement from within the nation.

Thaksin said, “Villagers who are producing various community products under the government’s ‘One Village, One Product’ scheme need the backing of their fellow citizens. The New Year is the perfect time to support these people by choosing their products to give as gifts to friends and relatives. This will not only help them to develop their small enterprises but will boost the nation’s economy at the grass-roots level.” (TNA)

Plans being made for Thai silk, leatherwear and the tuk tuk to gain international renown

Thailand is planning to promote 3 Thai products in the world market to gain fame. Industry Minister Somsak Thepsutin said that the ministry has set a policy to promote Thai silk, leatherwear, and the tuk tuk (three-wheeled taxi) under the Thai brand name to gain recognition and popularity at the international level, and increase the value of Thai products.

Concerned authorities have been instructed to facilitate the plan which is expected to materialize in the next 90 days. Thailand will import technology and human resources with an aim to boost the competitiveness of the products in the world market.

“We will persuade the world’s best tannery to establish its business in Thailand or buy technology from other countries so that Thailand can produce high quality leatherwear,” said Somsak.

As for Thai silk, Somsak said that, initially, Thailand will hire world class designers to develop patterns for Thai silk clothes and will promote Thai silk as the world’s best silk.

Somsak added that the government will implement the plan to export the tuk tuk, called ‘Chai Yo’ in collaboration with Toyota Motor Co. Thailand, which has agreed to help develop technology in manufacturing small engines for the three-wheeled vehicles. (TNA)

FedEx wins gold at Top Advertising Contest of Thailand Awards 2002

FedEx Express (FedEx), the world’s largest express transportation company, has earned two gold awards at the Top Advertising Contest of Thailand Awards: the “TACT Awards”, in recognition of the company’s highly successful local advertising campaigns.

Best Outdoor Media - the giant FedEx box

FedEx picked up gold awards in two categories: Best Print Ad, for the “FedEx Courier Box”, which illustrates how the FedEx Box eclipses the competition; and Best Outdoor Media, for the “FedEx Giant Box” - the largest and most striking three-dimension billboard, created by BBDO Bangkok Ltd.

The successful advertising campaigns were designed to highlight FedEx’s fast and reliable express delivery services for medium size and heavy shipments.

“Our award winning campaigns were designed to reinforce the FedEx ‘we-live- to-deliver’ brand proposition and illustrate our ability to express-deliver shipments of all shapes and sizes door-to-door, to anywhere in the world,” said Kawqjai Nacaskul, Thailand regional marketing manager.

Now in its 26th year, the TACT awards are held and organized by academic professors and the Thailand Advertising Association. The winning FedEx campaigns were chosen among 88 advertisement entries from Thailand’s leading advertising agencies. The FedEx campaigns were recognized for their excellence in creativity, art direction and production and, importantly, their success in communicating to target customers. More information about TACT Awards is available online at www.tac

With annual revenues of $21 billion, FedEx Corp. is the premier global provider of transportation, e-commerce and supply chain management services. The company offers integrated business solutions through a network of subsidiaries operating independently, including: FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company; FedEx Ground, North America’s second-largest provider of small-package ground delivery service, FedEx Freight, the largest U.S provider of regional less-than-truckload freight services; FedEx custom critical, North America’s largest provider of expedited time-critical shipments; and FedEx Trade Networks, a provider of customs clearance, international freeing forwarding and trade facilitation.

11th International Fishing Competition held in Phuket

The 11th International Fishing Competition was held November 15 to 17 at Chalong Bay in the southern resort island of Phuket to promote tourism in the province.

Panu Massirat, vice-president of the Phuket Tourism Business Association and chairman of the International Fishing Competition organizing committee disclosed that the 3-day-event was aimed to promote tourism and to raise public awareness on river and ocean conservation.

Panu said that all previous competitions received satisfactory responses from sport fishermen and Phuket has become a favorite place for them to visit.

“Many tourists who are fond of fishing have visited and rented boats for fishing along the Andaman coast, generating income to the province,” said Panu.

Those who come to Phuket for sport fishing are mainly from Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. “Even Thai tourists are showing their interests in fishing,” he said.

Panu added that it is expected that the tourists, fishermen and their companions who join this competition will circulate approximately10-15 million baht to hotels, accommodations, restaurants and rental boat business in Phuket Province. (TNA)

Air New Zealand increases capacity on international routes

This week Air New Zealand commenced its new international flight schedule (effective November 2002 - end March 2003) with increased capacity on several routes. The airline has increased the frequency of flights, in particular to Los Angeles and Sydney, and increased seat capacity on some services by up-gauging the aircraft type. This is in addition to increases introduced for Japan earlier in the year.

Air New Zealand senior vice president sales & distribution, Norm Thompson said the increased frequency and capacity to these key international destinations was in response to growing demand in some key markets with a resurgence of interest in New Zealand as a destination.

“Air New Zealand has made some significant changes to our schedules this year, reflecting an increased investment in the international inbound tourism market,” Thompson said.

“A particular milestone for the airline is that we will be operating two daily services to Los Angeles. In addition to the increased passengers services, New Zealand exporters and importers will benefit from the additional cargo capacity in particular on this route and the Auckland-Hong Kong route.”

The increased international services are:

To Asia and Japan

* Auckland -Tokyo: daily services (from five per week) introduced in April

* Auckland-Kansai: daily services (from six per week)

* Auckland - Nagoya: from three to four services per week

* Auckland-Hong Kong: daily services (from five per week)

* Auckland-Singapore: daily services

* Re-introduction of regular Japan charter flights from 27 November

To North America

* Auckland -Los Angeles: twice daily non-stop service (from ten per week)

* Sydney-Los Angeles: from three to five flights weekly

* Auckland-Honolulu: from two to three flights weekly

To Australia

* Auckland-Sydney: from four to five flights daily

In addition, Air New Zealand’s Pacific services through to Los Angeles are realigned as follows:

* Nadi - Los Angeles: from two to three flights weekly

* Papeete - Los Angeles: from three to four flights weekly; and

* Rarotonga-Papeete increases from one to three flights weekly.