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One-time royalty fees suggested for karaoke venues

SET ready to support listed good governance firms

Consumerism expected to soar in 2004

Pineapple leaf paper proves hit in US

Government won’t intervene in domestic oil market

Oman invited to back energy hub plan

Dhara Dhevi opening November 2004

One-time royalty fees suggested for karaoke venues

The Thai government is trying to give the county’s karaoke venues a break. GMM Grammy Plc, Thailand’s biggest music-recording company, RS Promotion Plc and their rivals have been asked to stop charging monthly fees for playing their songs.

Commerce Minister Wattana Muangsook has suggested that in place of the monthly fee, recording companies levy a one-time royalty fee on compact discs bought for commercial use. “The companies should separate CDs for sale to individuals from those sold to establishments,” he recommended.


SET ready to support listed good governance firms

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has allocated a budget of 30 million baht to support the development of good governance for listed companies.

Phatriya Benjapalachai, the SET’s vice president, said that the support would be through the SET’s 50% reduction of annual fees for two consecutive years to listed firms joining in the good governance promotion project.

“The project was launched early this year, and was initially set to end on 31 December, 2003. But the SET has decided to extend the project for another year and will instead end on 31 December, 2004.”(TNA)


Consumerism expected to soar in 2004

Figures show that Thai consumers are feeling their oats - and 2004 is expected to be a bumper year for domestic spending. A recent survey taken by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, revealed that end-of-the year holiday shoppers were expected spend to spend 56 billion baht, up from 36 billion baht last year.

The report said increased job creation, more disposable income and rising consumer confidence all signal a sustainable consumer recovery. Strong commodity prices, plus expansion of consumer credit have boosted disposable income for Thailand’s rural population. This is good news for retailers.

Higher prices combined with increasingly negative real returns on bank deposits is expected to continue to encourage consumers to spend even more in 2004. (TNA)


Pineapple leaf paper proves hit in US

It sounds almost good enough to eat - paper made out of pineapple leaves, and in the United States, the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) paper made in a small village in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province is proving an instant success.

Siriwann Phothiphiphat, Tambon Nong Ta Taem’s resident who has developed the pineapple leaf paper products, attributed the popularity of the paper to the fact that it was showcased at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Meetings 2003 (APEC 2003) in Bangkok in October. Foreign sales are growing, particularly in the US, with a large number of purchases made over the Internet.

Siriwann notes that the raw materials for the paper are easily obtainable locally. While the pineapple leaf paper was originally produced in the northern region, a relative lack of pineapple plants and the abundance of pineapple cultivation in this upper-southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan soon saw production shifted southward. A group of 30 farmers, operating under the name ‘Native Village Goods’ are now working together to produce the paper, which is notable for its natural appearance. (TNA)


Government won’t intervene in domestic oil market

The government has no current policy to intervene in the domestic oil market, but will allow oil prices to be in line with the market mechanism, according to Energy Minister Prommin Lertsuridej.

Prommin said he considered it unnecessary for the government to implement any measures to curb domestic oil prices at the moment, although prices were on an upward trend due to decreased supply.

“Although domestic oil prices are on a rising trend due to decreased supply from China, South Korea and Australia, the government anticipates it will be a short-run incident. The decreased supply was due to higher domestic demand for oil in the oil exporting countries, and due to production cuts of local oil companies caused by reduced supply of some substances used as raw materials,” he stated.

The ministry is closely monitoring the domestic oil situation, and its impact on prices of consumers’ products, but says that the rising oil prices has not yet affected the public’s cost of living. (TNA)


Oman invited to back energy hub plan

Energy Minister Prommin Lertsuridej has been tasked to lead a delegation to Oman in a bid to win Oman’s backing for Thailand’s plan to transform itself into a regional energy hub. After talks with Omani Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr. Prommin said that he and the delegation would go to Oman early this year.

Oman has expressed interested in investing in Thailand’s energy sector and developing strategic energy links between Southeast Asia and the Middle East. As a leading oil producer, Oman would feed oil into the program, as well as forge closer links in terms of natural gas production by exporting natural gas to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Thailand also has investments in Oman, with PTT Petroleum Surveys and Production having interests in Oman’s oil and natural gas sector.

Presently the main import from Oman is oil, while Thailand exports few goods in return, although the government is keen to open up more trade channels in the future. Thai exports which appear to have potential in Oman are automobiles and components, air conditioners, and services, including spas, healthcare and tourism. (TNA)


Dhara Dhevi opening November 2004

A six star hotel and resort for Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai will soon be amongst the few cities in the world to have a six star resort. The grounds and surroundings of ‘Le Grand Lanna’ offered the perfect retreat to combine indulgent holidays with a personal quest for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. That was what attracted Mandarin Oriental to come to ‘the rose of the north’.

The ‘Dhara Dhevi’ will have 60 golden teak villas, each with its own character, in surroundings reminiscent of Thailand’s most breath taking natural landscapes. It will span over 50 acres of land, providing stunning views from each private breakfast veranda. The decor will be functional, with clear lines, smooth polished surfaces but sumptuously furnished with cushions, covers and drapes. The golden teak wood will predominate and, in sharp contrast, the color white confirming elegance and nostalgia. This is the concept for the ‘Dhara Dhevi’.

Planned facilities include landscaped swimming pools set in tropical gardens, a French restaurant, with aspects of an ancient temple as well as a state of the art Heath and Fitness Center, complete with gymnasium, aerobics studio, sauna, Jacuzzi, squash and tennis courts.

For people who need to combine holidays and business, a Conference Center containing a small area for 80 people and a large traditional Lanna style building with seating for up to 600 delegates, will be built with state of the art conferencing equipment and eight translation rooms.

‘Dhara Dhevi’ will use the existing ‘Le Grand Lanna’ restaurant complex that can cater for groups as large as 200. This facility has many areas and has already received royalty, government representatives from around the world and many celebrities. Dining in the great Lanna tradition. There will also be ‘Dhara Dhevi’s own Chinese Restaurant. This building will be created in Sino-Portuguese style with a golden teak hand carved stair case and a marble terrace to watch the bustling market below.

For guests who would like to have an alternative, the ‘Dhara Dhevi’ is setting up a Northern Thai market, based on old traditions, but with modern amenities. Twelve little houses clustered together, providing noodle and rice dishes, desserts, Thai coffee and more, served in the traditional Thai manner.

Unique specialty shops such as an old style barber and hairdressing shop, but offering the latest hairdressing techniques, an old photo studio, and an old curiosity shop, complete with a wide range of antiques.

Mandarin Oriental believes Chiang Mai is on the way up, and will be part of it.