Vol. VII No. 26 - Tuesday
June 24 - June 30, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Air Asia opens new Chiang Mai office

Thailand should learn ‘bitter lesson’ from Vietnam, says central bank

Air Asia opens new Chiang Mai office

Company hopes to use CNX as “mini-hub”

CMM Reporters
Last week, July 19, Thai Air Asia opened its first “city office” in Chiang Mai, at Thapae Gate, next to Starbucks, at the top of Thapae Road. The opening ceremony was performed by Chuchard Keelapaeng, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, Junnapong Saranak, director of TAT’s northern office, and Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai Air Asia.

Churchard Keelapaeng, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, opening the new Thai Air Asia office, with Tassapon Bijleveld (left) and Junnapong Saranak (right).

The new sales office brings to three the total number of Thai Air Asia sales venues in Chiang Mai. The other two are sales counters at Chiang Mai International Airport and a sales kiosk at Tesco Lotus Kad Kamtiang. Tassapon Bijleveld explained that “opening the first ‘city office’ in Chiang Mai underlines the importance of Chiang Mai in our strength network of destinations”. Office hours will be from 9 am until 8 pm on weekdays and from 9 am until 9 pm on weekends.
Tassaporn Bijleveld took the opportunity to announce new destinations direct to and from Chiang Mai; Hong Kong, Hanoi, Macau and Singapore, all expected to be up and running within the next 2 years. Thai Air Asia intends to develop Chiang Mai as a small hub and plans to have 2 planes stationed at CNX. A new Bangkok to Guangzhou service will start on August 15. He explained that Thai Air Asia will promote Chiang Mai’s culture, temples, scenery and other attractions at all their destination cities through the media and by advertising on billboards, local buses etc.
Other Thai Air Asia sales offices are planned for Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi, and also, within the next two years, to open an Air Asia Tune Hotel in Chiang Mai, offering tourists an inexpensive quality hotel.

Thailand should learn ‘bitter lesson’ from Vietnam, says central bank

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) says the nation should be prepared to learn a bitter lesson from its neighbor Vietnam whose economy recently experienced a short-lived and unsteady economic boom that was boosted by a large inflow of foreign capital.
Amara Sripayak, senior director of BoT’s Local Economy Division, said the Vietnamese economy grew rapidly after foreign investors brought a huge amount of capital to invest in the country. It resulted in a short-lived and unstable economic growth in the country, she said.
The situation ended with the country experiencing such a serious economic plunge that the Vietnamese government was forced to devalue the currency by more than 2 percent and raise the interest rate by 2 percent to 14 percent in order to rein in the incessant upward push of inflation - up to 25 percent at present, she said.
“What happened in Vietnam underlines the fact that although the economy has grown impressively with a significant foreign capital inflow, the capital could always flow out if the economic expansion is unstable. So, we should learn the lesson that it is vital to maintain economic stability,” she said.
Amara said she viewed the economic crisis in Vietnam as possibly affecting investor confidence in the region. However, the BoT executive said she did not believe Thailand would experience a similar problem because the country had not experienced a current account deficit and its international reserves have stayed high. (TNA)

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