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Vol. XIII No.15 - Sunday July 27, 2014 - Saturday August 9, 2014


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Business - Travel - Tourism
 

THAI starts new Dreamliner service

Thai Airways International (THAI)’s first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner began service by flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai Friday, July 25, 2014, according to Petchpring Sarasin, Vice President of THAI.
The first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner out of the total of six that THAI has decided to purchase arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Friday, said Ms. Petchpring, adding that after receiving the second Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, the national carrier would assign both aircraft to service routes from Bangkok to Perth and to Haneda, starting from around this September.
She said the third aircraft is expected to start service this October from Bangkok to Narita, Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi while the fourth is projected to service the Bangkok to Nagoya route in December. Delivery of the remaining two planes is expected sometime around the middle of 2015.
THAI’s 787-8 Dreamliner is configured with 24 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class. It offers greater fuel efficiency and is fitted with an interior environment that has been designed to make passenger travel more comfortable and convenient.
Meanwhile, ACM Prajin Juntong, deputy leader of the National Council for Peace and Order and also Air Force Chief, said THAI does not fly the same route as the Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 which was shot down Thursday and crashed near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Flight MH-17 was carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur at the time when it was shot down near Russian territory.
ACM Prajin, also chairman of THAI, said THAI normally flew along the upper or lower part of Ukraine, and therefore does not have to revise its flying route.
At a meeting of the THAI board, it was agreed that plans to revise THAI performance would be divided into two stages. The first stage, which is considered as a crisis period, begins from this year until the first half of 2015, while the second stage would begin from the third quarter of 2015 onward. Plans need to be slightly revised and will be sent back within five days as the next meeting will be held next Thursday.
THAI has projected that it would suffer losses of over Bt100 million this year. It hopes to start making profit from the second quarter of 2015 following a massive restructuring and cut of overtime payment. (MCOT online news)


Lanna Expo to be held in September

Focus on Health & Wellness, Handicrafts and Tourism

With over 0.6 million tons of longans expected this season, longan farmers will be selling their wares at the Lanna Expo at CMICE. (Photo by Conny Sandland@wikimedia commons).

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Lanna Expo 2014 has been scheduled to be held from September 19 – 23, 2014 at the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center Deputy Governor Navin Sintusa-ard announced on July 9, 2014. The Expo is being held to promote the Upper Northern Province Cluster 1; Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son.
The Expo, which is being organized by the Provincial Commerce Office, Provincial Public Health Office, and Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports will promote several key areas of the region including tourism, health and wellness, and handicrafts with OTOP booths and more. The Expo will not only help in promoting the area and increase competitiveness but also boost residents’ incomes through sales and promotions, stimulate trade and investment in the region.
There will also be academic forums and exhibitions as well as sales of longan fruit to support the local longan farmers. This is the second such Lanna Expo, the previous year it was held at Royal Park Rajapruek.


Bangkok Airways wins Skytrax Awards

THAI takes 9th for cabin crew

Capt. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, President of Bangkok Airways received the prize from CNN anchor Jim Boulden.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Skytrax, the U.K. based consultancy, which runs an airline and airport review and ranking site and conducts research for commercial airlines recently announced their World Airline Awards naming Bangkok Airways as the World’s Best Regional Airline and also as the Best Regional Airline in Asia. THAI took 9th in the Best Cabin Crew award and Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific beat out last year’s winner Qatar Airways as Best Airline in the World. Singapore Airlines came third. The awards ceremony was held in London at the Farnborough International Airshow earlier this month. Asian and Middle Eastern airlines dominated the top ten although Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa made it into the top ten.
Bangkok Airways has previously been in the top five of World’s Best Regional Airline and Best Regional Airline – Asia, and won “Best Regional Airline” six times from 2004 – 2009 and 2011.
Capt. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, President of Bangkok Airways said “It’s another year of excitement for all of us at Bangkok Airways to win “World’s Best Regional Airline” and “Best Regional Airline Asia” from Skytrax, these awards are perfect testimonials for our 2014 campaign – “Service with Passion”. On behalf of everyone at Bangkok Airways, I would like to thanks all the votes from our passengers and most importantly - the dedication of our staffs to excel in a complete airline services. We promise to keep up with our services to provide the highest standard to underline our commitment to be Asia’s Boutique Airline.”
The World Airline Awards are the most prestigious and respected quality recognition of front-line product and service standards across the airline industry, voted by over 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 different nationalities through www. worldairlineawards.com.


International Convention Center open house

Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization) welcomed over 70 representatives from hotels, travel businesses and other leading companies, associations, and agencies to the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center on July 17, 2014. Dr. Sarawut gave the tour to show the efficiency of the venue and its readiness to welcome world class conventions and exhibitions.


Chinese tourists to get visa fee waiver

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The NCPO has agreed to waive visa fees for Chinese and Taiwanese nationals for three months beginning August 1, 2014 to boost tourism to the country. The fee is 1,000 baht but the Tourism Council of Thailand believes that it will show Chinese visitors that they are welcome in Thailand and restore confidence to return.
In the first six months of 2014 the number of Chinese tourists declined by23.35% to 1.87 million, while the number of tourists from Taiwan fell 32.33% to 174,061 visitors. China and Taiwan are top markets for tourism to Thailand and the latest assessments show that the average Chinese or Taiwanese tourist spends 43,000 baht per trip, very close to the average spending of Japanese tourists.
The measure was one of many suggested to the NCPO by tourism professionals and organizations in a bid to return tourists to Thailand and restore confidence in Thailand as a safe destination.


Elephant Parade teams with Anantara for largest open air art exhibit

Art featured at King’s Cup Elephant Polo Charity next month

Corn by artist Nat Posilla at Elephant Parade House in Chiang Mai Land in Chiang Mai.

A herd of more than fifty 1.5 meter tall brightly painted elephant statues will make their home in the streets of Bangkok with the help of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and Elephant Parade in 2015. The large elephant statues will then be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to the Asian Elephant Foundation.
The Elephant Parade Exposition was created after Elephant Parade founder Marc Spits and his son Mike visited the Friends of the Asian Elephant hospital in Thailand which treats sick and injured elephants. There they saw Mosha, a baby elephant who lost her foot when only seven months old and was the first elephant to receive a prosthetic limb. She is fitted with a new leg every year, and must then learn to walk all over again. Mosha wearing her prosthetic leg is always featured in each Elephant Parade exposition. The first exposition was held in Rotterdamn in 2007 and has since been held in cities including London, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Milan.
“Our inspiration for Elephant Parade started in Thailand way back in 2006 so we are very excited to showcase our world famous exhibition to Thai people and visitors to the Kingdom,” explains Elephant Parade co-founder Mike Spits. “We have been looking for likeminded partners who share our true passion in saving the Asian elephant and Anantara has long been known for its elephant conservation efforts in Thailand, which is why we feel this partnership with Elephant Parade is the ideal fit.”
William E Heinecke, Chairman and Founder of Minor International, owner of Anantara, and patron of the the group’s Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation which has now rescued over 30 street elephants said, “We are very pleased to help bring ‘Elephant Parade’ to Bangkok and to raise even more awareness and funds for the plight of the kingdom’s national animal. The parade coincides with Anantara’s famous King’s Cup Elephant Charity event moving to Bangkok from the seaside town of Hua Hin. The event has raised over $750,000 to better the lives of both domesticated and wild elephants throughout Thailand and we expect see much, much more raised with the help of Elephant Parade over the coming year.”
Famous international supporters of Elephant Parade include the Duchess of York, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Goldie Hawn, Khloe Kardashian, Katy Perry, Tommy Hilfiger, Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin and Prince Henrik of Denmark.
To give Bangkok a taste of Elephant Parade 2015, Anantara will showcase ten of the elephants at the 13th Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament which will be held at the Siam Polo Park at VR Sports Club in Bangkok from August 27th – September 1st, 2014. For more information on the 13th Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament; www.anantaraelephantpolo.com. For more information on Elephant Parade www. elephantparade.com


New Korean property agent debuts in Chiang Mai

Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai (3rd left), the President of Chiang Mai Cultural Council along with executives of Wiz International Company Limited from Korea together presided over the grand opening of Wiz International Company Limited or “Baan Domus”, a new real estate company in Chiang Mai at Jai Kaew Arawan Housing Development on Chiang Mai- Lamphun Road on July 15, 2014.


Bangkok Hospital opens new hospital for high end care

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya presided over the opening ceremony with Dr. Niwat Boonyuen, the Director of Bangkok Chiang Mai Hospital and Khunying Chao Raveephan Sucharitkul.

Wipanee Intapan
The newest entrant into Chiang Mai’s medical scene will be offering high end quality care with top quality medical equipment, fully equipped ambulances with doctors to treat patients on the way to the hospital and 180 beds in the 12 story building. There is also an emergency helicopter pad on the roof.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Public Company Limited, operator of the Bangkok Hospital Group opened the new Bangkok Chiang Mai Hospital on July 11, 2014. Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya presided over the opening ceremony with Dr. Niwat Boonyuen, the Director of Bangkok Chiang Mai Hospital and Khunying Chao Raveephan Sucharitkul.
Dr. Prasert Prasatthong-Osoth, M.D., President and Executive Director of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Public Company Limited, said that the tertiary referral hospital will have 180 beds and can treat over 1,000 outpatients a day offering the same standard of service as in Bangkok. The company spent 1.725 million baht on the hospital to ensure it reaches international standards. The hospital can serve not only Northern people but also patients from neighboring countries and foreign visitors.
Located on the Superhighway the Hospital offers such procedures as a CT scan 128-slides Dual source, MRI 1.5 Tesla, Digital Mammogram, 4D Ultrasound, Bone DEXA scan and Advanced 3D Laparoscopic Surgery. The Hospital will continue to improve until it reaches Hospital Accreditation and Joint Commission International standards.


Sansiri voted Most Admired Brand in real estate

Apichart Chutrakul, CEO of Sansiri Public Co. Ltd. thanked the readers of magazines Brand Edge and The Company for their support and confidence in the company.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Sansiri Public Co. Ltd. has been voted as Most Admired Brand by readers of the magazines the Brand Edge and The Company and Apichart Chutrakul, CEO of Sansiri thanked the readers noting that this award shows that the company’s quality of life project is accepted and admired by customers and marketing experts.
Brand Edge readers awarded Sansiri as Thailand’s Most Admired Brand 2014 based on four criteria; company and agent image, price and promotions, and finally advertisement and communication. The readers of The Company the award was based on innovation, responsibility, company and director image, service and the success of management. Sansiri received the highest score for corporate responsibility and company image and second in innovation.
Apichart said that despite the awards the company will continually improve and develop projects to offer their customers a better experience.


Retirement Is All About Safety First

I cannot even begin to tell you the horror stories I hear from many expats I meet. Unfortunately, they’re coming to see me too late or have not been reading my columns. The first thing that many Americans or Europeans think when they move to Thailand is how cheap it is to live here. We got a lot more for the Thai Baht than we do in our home countries. The problem becomes we think we’re richer than we really are.

The reality is that if we retire at 60, we need to figure that we need enough money to last for another 30 years. With medical improvements, regular exercise and cutting back on smoking and drinking, we can live a lot longer than we imagine. With that, it’s all about making our money last. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to do that here in Thailand, even though it’s very cheap to live here.
The other problem is that for those that realize this fact, they end up making the wrong decisions here in Thailand. Here are a few examples:

  • Investing in a bar or restauarant

  • Building a house in Issan

  • Buying condos with the hope of price appreciation and rental income

  • Spending in 7 months what was supposed to last 12 months

I could go on and on with examples, but I think every expat has heard one too many horror stories about these four big mistakes. The key to a successful life and retirement here in Thailand is all about living within your means. The key to doing this is first setting up a plan.
The first thing you have to realize is safety is priority number one. If you are no longer working and you lose money, you can’t make it back. Once that $100k is gone, it’s gone. The key is living off that income. A budget of living within one’s means is the most important part of any retirement strategy.
That’s why many expats go into the bar business or buy a condo for rental income, they need money to live off of without going into their principal. Unfortunately, that’s not what they should be doing.
What they should be doing is investing their portfolio in stocks that pay dividends. Here are a few that I recommend for my clients.
In looking at these dividend yields, you can also see that they pay much more than we are now getting in Thai banks. The best rate I’ve been able to find is 2.8% at Bangkok Bank, but I have to lock my money up. My services have no lock-in period.
When it comes to dividend investing, the best options are telecoms, utilities, real estate investment trusts (REITs), large oil & gas companies and master limited partnerships (MLPs). MLPs are typically pipelines, gas stations and other assets of an oil & gas company that generate a lot of cash. This allows them to pay higher dividend rates than other companies.
Now the final part of the plan is peace of mind. I am a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). I do not have access to my client’s funds. The account is in your name and you have access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For my U.S. clients, we use TD Ameritrade. For European clients, I use Saxo Bank. I am a fee-only financial advisor. Your portfolio will be custom-designed and will contain many of the same stocks that I own as well.
So before anyone goes and buys a condo that they can’t rent out or sell, give me a call. I can devise a portfolio of high-quality dividend paying stocks to give you the income you need. While you won’t get rich, you will at least keep the money that you already have and will start generating an income to live off. Your principal will grow at the same time. Thailand is really the land of smiles as long as we live within our means. If we do that, we can enjoy this wonderful country that makes our retirement here the envy of our friends back home.
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: [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

THAI starts new Dreamliner service

Lanna Expo to be held in September

Bangkok Airways wins Skytrax Awards

International Convention Center open house

Chinese tourists to get visa fee waiver

Elephant Parade teams with Anantara for largest open air art exhibit

New Korean property agent debuts in Chiang Mai

Bangkok Hospital opens new hospital for high end care

Sansiri voted Most Admired Brand in real estate

Retirement Is All About Safety First

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