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Bangkok Air renovating lounge at Chiang Mai International Airport

Bangkok Air’s lounge is currently closed, undergoing renovation A temporary lounge has been set up on the walkway from the domestic terminal.

Bangkok Airways recently announced that the passenger lounge at Chiang Mai International Airport will be closed for renovation for 90 days starting from 9 May 9 to 7 August 2014. A temporary lounge is located on the second floor by the walkway from the domestic terminal to the international terminal on the east side of the airport.
VIP and FlyerBonus Premier passengers will be provided with a Meal Voucher worth 250 Baht which can be used at Bangkok Airways’ contracted restaurants such as Thai Airways Restaurant, McDonald’s, Burger King, Black Canyon, Dairy Queen and Khao Soi House. Services for partner companies such as AIS and Thai Life will be temporary cancelled during the renovation period.


1st D-MICE Mart held in Chiang Mai

Domestic MICE market pushed to promote the Convention Center

Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo and TCEB President Nopparat Maythaveekulchai are joined by representatives from various companies, hotels and organizations at the start of the 1st D-MICE Mart in Chiang Mai.

Wipanee Intapan and Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The 1st Domestic MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) Market was held at the International Convention and Exhibition Center on May 7, 2014 by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) to promote the domestic MICE market and provide local MICE operators a platform for business matching. The Mart was also held to promote the bridging of domestic industry collaboration and to promote Chiang Mai as a world MICE city.
Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, the president of TCEB said, “The MICE Mart will be a platform for business match-making for local participating entrepreneurs.” He added that the TCEB has continuously encouraged the D-MICE market by creating marketing activities and efficiently developing the domestic MICE industry which has its hubs in the five MICE cities in Thailand; Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Khon Kaen, and Phuket.
Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo presided over the opening ceremony of the event by beating a victory drum after a traditional Lanna performance.
Governor Wichien noted in his opening remarks, “Chiang Mai is ready to be the MICE destination with its “Year of MICE 2013” campaign together with the 5-year plan for Chiang Mai City. We are ready to be one of the economic leaders of Thailand and the AEC. Our Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center is the best convention hall in ASEAN.”
The 1st D-MICE Mart in Chiang Mai is the second of its kind following the 1st D-MICE Mart held in Bangkok on March 25th. The Chiang Mai event was joined by representatives from MICE industry buyers and sellers in both public and private agencies, companies, hospitality service providers, airlines, and hotels in Chiang Mai, such as Kantary Hills, Bangkok Airways, Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel, Thai Airways, the Chiang Mai Night Safari, Oasis Spa, Royal Park Ratchapruek, the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, the Chiang Mai Cotton Farm Ltd., and many others.


137 Pillars House announces new Executive Chef

Manfred Ilg, General Manager of the 137 Pillars House, recently announced the appointment of Amporn Choeng-Ngam as Executive Chef. Chef Amporn will oversee all culinary operations at the hotel, including the Palette Restaurant. Chef Amporn has extensive experience both in Thailand and internationally, having held positions in Ukraine, Bali and Saudi Arabia in addition to several of Thailand’s top properties. In Saudi Arabia he worked for Princess Hassah bint Abdulaziz Al Saud as a private chef, overseeing a team of 38 chefs. He believes the secret to creating flavorful cuisine is all in the preparation, which can often be very time consuming. He uses special skillets to ensure food can be cooked without oil. He has won several awards for his cuisine including both Gold and Silver medals in cooking competitions in Thailand and Bali.


BOT reports on Northern Economic situation

Political situation and drop in farm incomes weighs down consumer confidence

The Bank of Thailand’s Northern branch reported on the state of the North’s economy for the first quarter of the year recently noting that the overall economy in March had declined from the previous month as ongoing political uncertainty coupled with economic conditions and a drop in farm income saw consumer confidence fall.
Business confidence also fell as both sectors saw a decline in investment and private consumption and rising caution in spending. The slowdown in private consumption and investment led to a contraction of domestic-oriented manufacturing production. Meanwhile, tourism, exports and government disbursement, while subdued, remained favorable. While inflation increased the unemployment rate stayed low. In the banking sector deposits growth grew while credit has fallen.
Demand side softened and the Private Investment Index contracted by 6.8 percent year-on-year, reflecting a decline in key indicators including permitted construction area in municipalities, import value of machinery and equipment and numbers of commercial car registration. However, the sale of construction materials expanded mainly from government construction projects.
The Private Consumption index declined by 5.8 percent as consumers remained cautious in their spending and consumed principally necessary goods. This was attributable to a historic low consumer confidence rate due to the prolonged political unrest and deteriorated household income in both the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.
Government disbursements through provincial treasury offices in the Northern region amounted to 17,467.8 million baht, a 16.4 percent rise following both current expenditure, in category of ongoing measure subsidies to government entities, academic institutions and local administrative organizations, and capital expenditure, in accordance with a progress of ongoing construction projects which expanded for a second consecutive month.
Export value through the Northern Customs House was recorded at 458.4 million USD, up 13.0 percent in response to increasing demand on electronic parts and hard disk drive components from Japan and the USA, in line with exports of consumer goods to Myanmar and Laos. In the meantime, import value, amounting to 132.1 million USD, shrank by 1.2 percent mainly from decreased imports of equipment and machinery parts. However, imports of agricultural products which benefited from the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), cattle, furniture and wooden products, expanded.
The supply side contracted with the Manufacturing Production Index dropping 5.9 percent due to the decelerated production in the domestic market, particularly beverages, rice and sugar. Production of electronic components, however, grew from external demand for telecommunication, electrical appliances and automotive equipment.
The Major Crop Production index fell by 1.1 percent due mainly to decreased output of the second crop rice caused by insufficient water supply from reservoirs in addition to the adverse effects of drought. Major crop prices dropped further to 9.7 percent following falling global prices of second crop paddy, maize and sugarcane due to abundant supply, all of which led farm income to fall by 10.7 percent.
TheRetail Trade index shrank by 12.4 percent from the sale of automobiles and relevant products, together with construction materials and electrical appliances. The tourism sector slowed down after a notable expansion in the earlier period, especially in the MICE market, in tandem with haze pollution which started to affect the tourism sector. However, persistent visits of foreign tourists remained, particularly the Chinese.
Economic stability in the North is considered sound; headline inflation edged up to 2.37 percent following rising prices of fresh food, notably meat, vegetables and fruit due to dry and extremely hot weather conditions, resulting in lesser output which led to an increase in processed food prices. The unemployment rate was down to 0.5 percent while the number of registered persons under social security system grew further.
Commercial bank deposits as of February 2014 totaled 598,393 million baht, up by 9.6 percent mainly from increased deposits of public entities and academic institutions as well as temporarily relocated deposits from depositors of some specialized financial institutions as a negative impact from the political situation. Credits registered 569,954 million baht, grew by 17.2 percent although it was a decline for the ninth consecutive month due to the economic slowdown, higher household indebtedness and more strict consideration of commercial banks lending policies. However, demand for corporate and consumer loans remained.
Although the economy flagged in the first quarter due to concerns on political instability as well as drought and haze, exports grew in accordance with the global economic recovery and the extended cold weather season boosted inbound tourists to the North. Bank deposits remain strong and the low inflation and low unemployment rate still give the North a favorable outlook.
upply side contracted. Manufacturing Production Index dropped by 5.9 percent owing to decelerated production for domestic-oriented, particularly beverages, rice and sugar. Nonetheless, production of electronic components grew further.


New more secure 500 baht banknote introduced

The Central Bank has unveiled its latest edition of 500-baht banknote, which was introduced into circulation beginning on May 12. Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT) Tongurai Limpiti said the new notes will have the exact same size as the current ones, but the difference between the two is that the new ones will have enhanced security features to facilitate authentication by banknote sorting machine and members of the public, including the visually impaired.
The deputy governor anticipated that all of the old 500-baht notes, which have been used for more than 12 years, will be replaced by the new ones in two years’ time. The new 500-baht banknote can be exchanged at every commercial bank across Thailand. (NNT)


BoT Governor certain Thai economic foundation helps maintain GDP.

Thailand’s central bank governor is confident that the country’s strong economic foundation will help maintain the gross domestic product (GDP) despite the current political confusion. Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul spoke on the Thai economic tendency this year, saying that the strong economic fundamentals will help support the country’s slower economy. He said in the worst case scenario, Thailand’s GDP will not be in the minus sphere and there will be no economic crisis.
BoT Governor Prasarn Triaratvorakul is confident that Thailand’s strong economic base will see it through the slowdown caused by political turmoil.
 

However, political situations must be closely monitored for further estimates. Mr. Prasarn said the Thai economic foundation could help the country weather the political problems in the short run, but it will be worrisome if there are no more investments in the medium term, for investors are waiting for political clarity.
He noted that the baht currency movement has been stable even during the moment the Constitutional Court ruled yesterday the case of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The Court dismissed her last week, saying that she has abused of the power of her office in the case involving her order to transfer National Security Council (NSC) chief Thawil Pliensri to an inactive post in 2011. (MCOT)


TAT reviews projected number of foreign tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will consider adjusting its projection of the number of foreign tourists travelling to Thailand, after noting some negative signs. Due to three major factors namely political conflict, natural disasters, and bombing incidents in Hat Yai, the TAT will soon cut back the projected figure for foreign visitors this year. Its previous expectation was 28.4 million tourists.
TAT Governor Thawatchai Aranyik has assigned his officials to collect more data and conduct a survey of foreign tourist numbers and travel agency experience regarding the impact of the three aforementioned factors. He was confident a new projection could be made public this month.
He however confirmed that the TAT would take measures immediately to tackle the problem and regain the confidence of foreign tourists in Thailand. Meanwhile he has noticed that the number of tourists in some markets fluctuates while others are consistently the same. The TAT governor said the reasons for the difference need to be studied further. (NNT)


Trucking companies to see increased regulations

Upgrading logistics for entry into AEC

Trucking companies will see stricter regulations and enforcement to ensure they meet all requirements to drive in the ASEAN countries in the upcoming AEC.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Provincial Land Transportation Department is working with the Land Transport Federation of Thailand and Hazardous Substances Logistics Association (HASLA) to supervise the transportation of goods by trucks and ensure that trucks and drivers meet all regulations and requirements so that they may enter all 10 ASEAN countries upon the implementation of the AEC next year.
Waraporn Worapongsathorn, Head of the Academic Department of Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport noted that entrepreneurs and truck drivers often ignored the laws that regulate the industry as well as traffic laws with resulting frequent injuries and accidents.
To ensure the safety of drivers and trucks as well as build confidence in the industry the coalition has listed 10 measures that will enable Thailand’s trucks and drivers to enter the AEC with confidence.
The ten measures include:
1. Do not drive a truck without the correct license or with a suspended or revoked license.
2. Drivers will be limited to no more than 4 consecutive hours driving before being required to take a half an hour rest.
3. Drivers cannot drink or use psychotropic drugs. Violators will be imprisoned not more than 2 years or fined not more than 40,000 baht or both.
4. Drivers must obey speed limits and drive on the correct side of the road.
5. Drivers must have their records and accident reports on them in the vehicle.
6. Companies cannot use unregistered non-tax paying drivers or use illegal accessories.
7. Trucks will not be allowed to be over the legal weight limit.
8. Trucks carrying hazardous materials must have GPS systems installed.
9. Container trucks must install the Twist Lock system.
10. Trucks must have legal reflectors or flashing lights for use in a breakdown.
Fines will range between 40,000 – 50,000 baht per violation.
Provincial Land Transport Offices throughout the country and police will strictly check trucks and trucking companies for violations.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Bangkok Air renovating lounge at Chiang Mai International Airport

1st D-MICE Mart held in Chiang Mai

137 Pillars House announces new Executive Chef

BOT reports on Northern Economic situation

New more secure 500 baht banknote introduced

BoT Governor certain Thai economic foundation helps maintain GDP.

TAT reviews projected number of foreign tourists

Trucking companies to see increased regulations