Chiang Mai promoted as Long Stay destination for Japanese
Governor Suriya Prasatbandit addresses the forum
attendees including many Japanese long stay residents of Chiang Mai.
The Chiang Mai Long Stay Forum was held to discuss and publicize the potential
of Chiang Mai as a destination for Japanese who wish to stay for a long time,
including retirees at the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai on June 18, 2014. Chiang Mai
has seen growth in retired Japanese making the city their home.
Pongsathorn Kessasamli, Deputy Governor Asia and South Pacific Market of Tourism
Authority of Thailand presided over the Chiang Mai Long Stay Forum where he was
welcomed by Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbandit.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) East Asia office has mapped out a
marketing plan that focuses on Japanese long-stay tourists in a joint project
with 3 TAT offices in Japan; Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. They worked with the
Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce which has proposed a 5 year visa for long stay
tourists, and businesses in Chiang Mai to offer the forum for more the more than
100 Japanese long stayers who visited the forum to meet with local businesses
and see products tailored to their needs.
The event had a forum for members of the Chiang Long Stay Guide Club, the Japan
Thailand Friendship Forum and Chao Newspaper to offer suggestions and offer
information to the Japanese who live in Chiang Mai.
In the evening the TAT held a Lanna style welcome party for the attendees who
also got to view an impressive Bai Sri Su Kwan ceremony, Thai dance performances
and a Kad Mua, Northern style market.
The TAT Deputy Governor Asia and South Pacific Market said that this type of
tourist is a great market to target as they have a lot of free time and
disposable income. Chiang Mai is popular with many Japanese for the golfing, the
weather, health services, amenities and livable size.
In the past year, Thailand welcomed more than 1.5 million Japanese tourists
accounting for 11.96% of tourists. In 2014, the number of Japanese tourist in
first five months has dropped to 19.94% because of the political situation
believes that with political stability the Japanese tourists will return in
New Chiang Mai – Myanmar routes to open this year
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Bangkok Airways announced plans to use Chiang Mai as their base
for ATR-72 turboprop flights to Myanmar and new domestic destinations.
The new base will be opened in the fourth quarter of 2014 and will be
the base for Bangkok Airways for the new generation of the 600 model of
the ATR-72 turboprop plane. The airline plans on purchasing three more
ATR 72 – 600s from its original order of six of the same type.
Bangkok Airways will offer direct Chiang Mai – Yangon and Chiang Mai
–Mandalay flights that will give the airline a total of five routes to
Myanmar, it is already the largest foreign carrier with three routes
with 40 flights in total a week.
Unlicensed hotels and guesthouses given July 17 deadline to register
Athacha Kampanat –saenyakorn Chief of the
Administration and Justice Enhancement Group of Chiang Mai warned all
small business operators, especially those operating hotels or
guesthouses, to obtain a trade license by July 17, 2014 or face
prosecution from the government.
Unlicensed hotels, guesthouses and service hotels are being told they
have until July 17, 2014 to register their businesses and obtain the
correct licenses or they will face prosecution which includes fines and
imprisonment. Two locations have already been prosecuted including a 40
room service hotel that was fined 10,000 baht for not registering and a
1,000 baht for the period during which it was operating.
Athacha Kampanat–saenyakorn Chief of the Administration and Justice
Enhancement Group of Chiang Mai said, “Chiang Mai has 270 legal hotels
or about 16,000 rooms and over 200 illegal hotels. The word ‘hotel’ in
this law means every room that is rented for less than 30 days at a
time, so if you have this kind of room, you have to sign this trade
The NCPO is enforcing laws and regulations for entrepreneurs to obtain
their trade licenses as well and will investigate those who break the
law in regards to auctions, antiques, pawnshops, hotels and others.
The Department of Provincial Administration chose Chiang Mai as the
target area for training Administrators about this operation from June
10 to 12, 2014, covering all parts of the process including arresting
the suspect to drafting the complaint for Chiang Mai District Court
prosecutors. The Chiang Mai Government has given all unlicensed
businesses until July 17, 2014 to register and comply with the law.
Imperial Mae Ping holds wedding fair
It’s the season to begin
planning those cool season weddings and the Imperial Mae Ping led the way
with their Chic Wedding Fair 2014 held at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport
shopping center on Friday, June 13, 2014. Here General Manager of Imperial
Mae Ping Hotel Peter Schnyder is joined by organizers and his management
team at the opening ceremony for the event which featured a fashion show as
well as special offers from vendors.
Thonglor Pet Hospital opens new Chiang Mai branch
Assoc. Prof. Suvichai Rojanasthien President of
the Veterinary Council of Thailand (2nd left) presided over the opening
ceremony of the Thonglor Pet Hospital’s 13th branch in Chiang Mai where he
was welcomed by Dr. Boonchu Thongcharoenpoonporn, Managing Director of
Thonglor Pet Hospital (center) on June 15, 2014.
The well-known brand Thonglor Pet Hospital has added their latest
branch in Chiang Mai to increase their number of hospitals to 13 with
branches in Sukhumvit, Lad Phrao, Pinklao, Chaengwattana, Rangsit, Ram
Indra, Rama 2, Kaset-Nawamin, Phutthamonthon Sai 4 in the Bangkok area and
outside Bangkok in Pattaya, Khon Kaen, and now Chiang Mai.
Dr. Boonchu Thongcharoenpoonporn, Managing Director of Thonglor Pet Hospital
said that the pet hospital is in a 4-storey building designed and decorated
in a French style located near the Tesco Lotus Ruamchok on Somphot Chiang
Mai 700 Year Road (2nd Ring Road) to offer convenience to those who need to
bring their pets in.
The hospital offers pet check-up services as well as a general medicine
clinic, and specialized clinics such as neurological, heart, and eye. The
hospital will also be able to repair broken limbs, a frequent problem with
dogs, and offer services such as a heart ultrasound, electrocardiography,
and digital x-ray. The clinic will have separate pet recovery rooms with 24
hour care. Additionally, they will offer grooming services and pet products.
Thonglor Pet Hospital Thailand works to offer a high standard in all
services and offer high quality care for pets so that owners can have the
peace of mind that their pet is receiving the best care. Thonglor Hospitals’
motto is “The best standard is to mind the details,” and this is key to all
the staff at the hospital.
Forum on improving standards
in tourism management
Supith Verjai, Director of the Bureau of Tourism
Services Development led a seminar with Bangkok University and tourism
professionals in Chiang Rai to discuss improving outdated standards.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Bureau of Tourism Services Development (BTSD) and Bangkok University
held a forum at the Rimkok Resort Hotel in Chiang Rai to review the
standards that had been set in place in 2005 and to receive suggestions on
necessary revisions. Supith Verajai, Director of the BTSD met with
government officials, business owners and management to discuss necessary
measures to improve the current standards.
The Department of Tourism had created 14 sets of standards for tourism
management in 2005 but as those standards no longer relate to current
conditions the Bureau has been assigned to obtain feedback for new
K. Supith noted that many tourist attractions were in dilapidated condition
and lacked serious management oversight in their sustainability. The
Department of Tourism is in charge of improving tourist attractions and
creating standards for goods and services that will ensure confidence in
tourism in Thailand.
New privileges for 1Card holders with CPN
Central Pattana Public Company Limited (CPN), in cooperation with the 1 Card
is now offering premier privileges to their shoppers at Central Plaza Chiang
Mai Airport, Central Festival Chiang Mai, and Central Plaza Shopping Malls
in Lampang, Chiang Rai, and Pitsanuloke. Dr. Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, CPN
Executive Vice President for Marketing, said that the cooperation between
the two companies was a key strategy to expand and strengthen their customer
base. The 1 Card as a leading retail company in Thailand now has had over
4.7 million customers nationwide. “Privileges for our customers will include
special information, activities, and added exclusive promotions from the
shopping centers under CPN, such as Central World, Central Plazas, and
Central Festivals. Apart from that, we have implemented the CRM system by
making the 1 Card our main data base for customization along with the
granted privileges,” the Executive Vice President revealed. The 1card will
be the only card that can make shopping more convenient at all shopping
centers under CPN and will offer premium and prize programs as well as
discounts from many leading brands. (PR)
Chiang Rai is the Destination of Love
Wedding, Honeymoon & Travel Fair at Central Plaza Chiang Rai
The Destination of Love 2nd annual Wedding,
Honeymoon and Travel Fair was held at Central Plaza Chiang Rai and promoted
Chiang Rai as a wedding destination with its beautiful scenery and tourist
Chiang Rai touted itself as the Destination of Love in the Wedding,
Honeymoon & Travel Fair held at Central Plaza Chiang Rai on June 14 and 15,
2015. The second annual event was hosted by Central Pattana Public Company
Limited (CPN) in cooperation with Toyota Chiang Rai Co., Ltd, Thai Air Asia
Co., Ltd, Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, the Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) Chiang Rai Office, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort,
Fine Dae Creative Organizer, and other wedding oriented businesses.
Weeradech Somwan, Muang Chiang Rai District Chef presided over the opening
ceremony to promote Chiang Rai as a great destination for weddings with the
ability to offer great wedding organization. He noted that Chiang Rai has
long been known for its beautiful landscapes and tourist attractions that
can fulfill wishes for stunning pre-wedding photos as well as chic weddings.
The province offers first class accommodation, shopping malls and good
transport that would serve wedding couples, both Thai and foreign.
A mini-concert was also given at the Wedding Fair by the famous Thai singer
Nueng ETC or Apiwat Pongwaad. This was followed by a fashion show by leading
Upcoming AEC explained by MFA
Roadshow launched to introduce new book
“Many Thai people lack an understanding of what ASEAN is and what
the full implementation of the Asean Economic Community will mean,” said
Dusit Manapan, Deputy Director – General of the Department of Information at
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a conference held at the Kantary Hills
Hotel Conference rooms on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. The Ministry has
produced a book in Thai explaining what the AEC is, how the economic
community will affect labor, SMEs, infrastructure and regulations.
The Deputy Director outlined the procedure, explaining the various Free
Trade Agreements and alliances around the world and how the AEC compares. He
noted that the ASEAN agreement covers more than just the economic aspect but
also the political, security, and socio-cultural communities. He outlined
the Master Plan for the ASEAN community and went over the points in the book
including the issue of free flow of skilled labor in certain categories, and
of the need for Thailand to better its language skills.
The roadshow will be visiting all of the provinces to distribute the books
and inform local businesspeople and officials about the details of the AEC.
He pointed out that the implementation of the AEC is a gradual affair and
that not every country will be at the same stage of readiness as the same
time, adding that will not be a problem.
Deputy Governor Nawin Sintusa spoke on the effects on Chiang Mai and the
effect on tourism, the MICE industry and other industries in the North.
AEC: Dusit Manapan, Deputy Director – General of
the Department of Information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (center)
and Deputy Governor Nawin Sintusa (2nd right) are joined by Head of the
Tourism Authority of Thailand for Chiang Mai Wisut Buachoom (far right),
Chalermchart Nakarunkul and the moderator for the event (far left)
First rise of Thai Industries Sentiment Index in 7 months
The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) in May showed its first rise in
seven months, while a related indicator, motorcycle installment plan loans,
have started to pick up.
Suphan Mongkolsuthee, chair of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said
TISI rose to 85.1 in May compared with 84.0 in April as operators saw
positive signs in the economy. along with the alleviation of some Thai
political problems. The index is based on orders, sales, production and
In May, about 148,000 automobiles were produced. The figure fell by 36 per
cent year-on-year but rose by 16.94 per cent from the amount registered in
April. Automobile sales should increase significantly by October when
economic confidence improves and money in the economy increases.
The FTI predicts the Thai economy will grow by more than 2.5 per cent or
nearly 3 per cent this year. Earlier it expected the economy to shrink by 1
Mitsuji Konoshita, executive of Group Lease Plc, said the economic
stimulation measures of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
including payment for pledged rice were supporting the grass roots economy
which formed the main group of its clients.
He said his company’s net profit in the second half of this year should grow
by 20-30 per cent, even though its net profit dropped 10-15 per cent in the
first quarter. Mr Konoshita expects loans for both motorcycle installment
plans and microfinance to grow. (MCOT online news)
The Military Coup Is Bullish For
the Thai Stock Market
As you can see, shares dropped initially when
the coup was announced, but have since recovered. Furthermore, shares are
about 25% off their highs seen last summer. Compare this to the S&P 500 SPDR
(SPY), which is making new all-time highs.
By Don Freeman
For those of us from the United States and Europe, we cannot imagine
a military coup occurring where we come from. Matter of fact, I get calls
from nervous friends and relatives asking if I’m okay and if there are tanks
in the street. Well, for those of us that have lived here for quite some
time, we have become like ordinary Thais and view the coup as a non-event.
Here in Thailand, coups are part of the ordinary course of business every
All I tell the folks back home is imagine a General put the Republican and
Democratic leaders in a room and said stop this bickering and work together.
Here in Thailand, that’s what the General did. When they failed to come up
with a deal, he just said both of you are useless and I’m taking over.
I view this as a bullish event for the long-term because it provides some
stability to the country, which it so desperately needs. In fact, if you
notice its business as usual. Factories are still humming and goods are
being shipped in and out of the country. Thailand, due to its location,
remains the industrial heart of Southeast Asia.
For Thai exporters and us expats, we are benefiting from the weak Baht. A
weak currency is good for tourists as they can buy more with their home
currency and it also makes Thai exports more competitive in the global
market. In other words, it’s cheaper to buy Thai goods abroad. This, in
turn, has helped the Thai stock market.
The ETF that tracks the Thai Stock Market is iShares MSCI Thailand (THD).
Shares have rallied since the lows seen in 2008 of around $20 to almost $100
last summer. This was before Thailand was hit by protests and it fell to
around $62. Shares look to have formed a triple bottom and gone higher. As I
like to say, “what can’t go lower, must go higher.” Furthermore, when a
market is hit with bearish news like a military coup and goes higher, that
is one of the hallmarks of a bull market. Matter of fact, since Thailand has
a history of coups, the Thai Stock Market has typically risen 3% in the
first month after a coup. Here, you can see how the THD has performed since
the protests have been going on, leading up to the coup last month.
Digging deeper, I see the top 10 holdings of the THD comprise the leading
companies in Thailand and account for half of THD’s assets. They include
Siam Commercial Bank, PTT, AIS, Kasikornbank, PTT Exploration, CP Group,
Siam Cement, PTT Global Chemicals and Bangkok Bank. These companies form the
backbone of the Thai economy and are unlikely to be affected from the drop
in tourism numbers. The companies in the THD rely more on domestic demand
and their growth story is still intact.
These stocks are also incredibly cheap compared to their global peers. The
holdings of the THD have a Price/Earnings multiple of 12 and are trading at
just 0.8 times book value and 0.8 times sales. If we compare this the SPY,
we see that it has a Price/Earnings multiple of 16 and shares are trading at
2.2 times book value and 1.6 times sales.
My long-term outlook for Thailand remains intact. As an expat who has been
coming to Thailand for many years, I know where Thailand was, where it is,
and I have a pretty good idea of where it’s heading. Even the World Bank
agrees with me. In their assessment of Thailand, they say:
“Thailand became an upper-middle income economy in 2011. Notwithstanding
political uncertainty and volatility, Thailand has made great progress in
social and economic issues. As such, Thailand is one of the great
development success stories, with sustained strong growth and impressive
I couldn’t have said it better myself. For those of you interested in more
of my writings, give me a call to get a copy of Don Freeman’s Expat
Financial Guide. I’m also available to discuss the THD and various other
investment options for your portfolio to help build a more secure future.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered
Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based
in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal
financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK
and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: