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Update August 2017

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Thailand News

Update August 31, 2017

Thailand’s tourist arrivals and revenue continues growth in 3rd Quarter of 2017

Bangkok (TAT) – Thailand expects to enjoy continued growth both in tourist arrivals and tourism revenue during the 3rd quarter of this year.

International visitor arrivals are expected to grow by 5% to 8.7 million with tourism revenue increasing by 10% to 460 billion Baht (US$13 billion).

Arrivals from ASEAN grew by 7% to about 2.5 million tourists, while North East Asia remains the top inbound source market with 3.7 million visitors (2% increase). Visitors from Europe totalled 1.3 million tourists (up 8%), with arrivals from the Middle East (+14% to 340,000 tourists), South Asia (+11% to 390,000 visitors) and the Americas (+9% to 280,000 tourists); all showing strong growth.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “The positive outlook is based on many favourable factors, including a surge in travel demands from the short-haul markets during school holidays and the month of Ramadan. A Chinese market recovery that started from May onwards also had a positive effect on Thailand’s overall tourism arrivals. At the same time, long-haul markets including the United States and Russia continue to grow steadily.”

New air access from Taiwan, Indonesia, China and Turkey is considered among the favourable factors contributing to the growth. This includes new flights from Taipei, Bali and Shenzhen to Bangkok; from Guangzhou to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai; from Changsa to Chiang Rai and from Istanbul to Phuket.

Thailand also ranked among ForwardKeys’ top destinations with a 4% share of overall future bookings. It measures future bookings based on the highest number of airline reservations secured during the months of June to August 2017.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “TAT’s aggressive tourism marketing activities are also playing an important role in Thailand being marked as a preferred destination among international travellers.”

TAT received positive results from its ‘Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise 2017’ campaign (formerly known as the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale) organised from 1 June to 31 July. A ‘Women’s Journey Thailand’ followed in August for the second consecutive year, offering privileges and deals for women travellers alongside many special activities.

In the first half of this year, Thailand welcomed 17.3 million tourists, generating 876 billion Baht (US$ 25 billion) for the Thai economy. TAT targets Thailand to finish 2017, earning 1.81 trillion Baht (US$ 50 billion).

Thailand inbound travel surges 30% in Chinese search results on TripAdvisor

Bangkok, – Thailand continues to attract the most interest from top inbound travellers to the country according to recent TripAdvisor inbound travel data and analysis of online search behaviour.

China led the way with the highest percentage increase in search traffic, with a year-on-year increase of 30%, outpacing the overall international average of 4%. India and Indonesia followed in second and third place, with year-on-year search increases of 16% and 12%, respectively.

The results support arrival statistics from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which noted that China and Russia were also two of the largest contributors to Thailand’s inbound tourism and inbound expenditure in the first half of 2017.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “The data unveiled both what inbound countries were most interested in Thailand, as well as the most searched destinations in the country. It also provided insightful information on international travel behaviour.”

Mr. Grant Colquhoun, TripAdvisor spokesperson, said that “Thailand has something for every traveller with its tropical beaches, heritage towns, delicious food, and an ever cosmopolitan capital city. The inbound travel data that is available on TripAdvisor provides local hospitality businesses and service providers with insights on travel trends and consumer behaviour to help them more effectively capture and cater to a global audience of high intent travellers.”

He added, “We are also encouraged to see that accommodation in Thailand is becoming more engaged on TripAdvisor with 53% of them responding to travel reviews within the last month.”

When examining the total inbound search traffic for Thailand, China tops the list followed by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Russia.

Among Chinese travellers searching for Thailand, there was also increased interest from residents of second-tier cities in Hangzhou, Dalian and Qingdao. The surge in interest comes as the China Tourism Academy (CTA) shared that second and third-tier cities in China are fast catching up as key outbound tourism markets, due to increasing disposable income and improved flight connectivity to Southeast Asia.

The top five Chinese cities with the biggest increase in traveller interest to Thailand on TripAdvisor:
(Year-on-year growth)

1. Beijing 102%
2. Hangzhou 91%
3. Dalian 81%
4. Qingdao 65%
5. Shanghai 61%

Thailand’s tropical islands continue to pique the interest of all international travellers, with the resort town of Krabi seeing the highest year-on-year increase in searches at 41%.

Top five Thai destinations with the biggest increase in international travel searches on TripAdvisor included:

1 Krabi 41%
2 Kathu 37%
3 Nai Yang 31%
4 Chiang Mai 10%
4 Hat Yai 10%
*Exact percentages rounded to zero decimal points.

Tourist police promote Kanchanaburi as safe tourist city

KANCHANABURI,(NNT) – The Tourist Police have launched a new campaign entitled "Cooperation for Kanchanaburi - You are safe here."

Tourism Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Prasert Ngernyuang presided over the launching ceremony for a polit campaign to promote the tourists' safety in Kanchanaburi.

The campaign is run in cooperation between government agencies and private companies to provide safety measures for tourists, since Kanchanaburi was selected as one of the provinces suitable for the pilot project.

The Tourist Police chief said public participation will play key roles in the policy, while private tourism businesses are very important to help with the operations of the authorities and with efforts to boost the local economy and bring more incomes to local communities.

"It is very important for all people in Kanchanaburi to help the police prevent any adverse events from happening to our guests, which is the principle of the campaign," says Kanchanaburi Provincial Tourist Police Station Chief Pol Col Suebsak Phunsueb.

The Tourist Police, Kanchanaburi Provincial Tourism and Sports Office, Kanchanaburi Municipality, Kanchanaburi Provincial Administrative Organization, Paholpolpayuhasena Hospital, Pitaklan Foundation, and Sisawat Tourism Assocaition have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation in the ''Cooperation for Kanchanaburi - You are safe here'' campaign.

Update August 30, 2017

Chiang Mai Culture Office meets on 20-year strategy

CHIANG MAI,(NNT) - The Chiang Mai Provincial Culture Office has recently held a meeting to break up its 20-year strategy into short-term plans.

Participating in the conference were representatives from state agencies, the private sector, educational institutes, local administrative organizations, the Chiang Mai Cultural Council, and the Provincial Sangha Council. Also in attendance were local artists, event organizers, and academics in the field of cultural studies.

The conference follows a public forum held by the National Legislative Assembly’s committee on religion, arts, culture and tourism on August 29th last year, which discussed revitalizing and developing the Lanna culture. The results of the meeting will be used to define the direction of office’s operations.

The conference has concluded that the issue of cultural degradation is intensifying and must be addressed urgently. The direction of cultural conservation efforts in the province, which will be shared among responsible units, calls for an emphasis on public participation.

Dept of Land Transport to share GPS information for pricing of insurance premium

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Department of Land Transport has worked with insurance companies to incorporate GPS information in determining premiums for transport operators, encouraging lower accident rates.

Department Director-General Sanit Promwong signed a memorandum of cooperation with Dhipaya Insurance, Krungthai Panich, Siam City, and risk analysis and management companies. The agreement shares access to the department's GPS database for the travel history of transport operators.

The information will be used in determining insurance premiums for transport operators, rewarding better driving with reduced insurance rates and stimulating growth in the private insurance sector.

BTS fares increased

BANGKOK,(NNT) –Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) has announced an increase in fares on both the Sukhumvit and Silom lines from 15-42 baht to 16-44 baht starting this October 1.

President of BTS Surapong Laoha-anya said today that from October 1, 2017 onward, the company will be increasing the fares on 23.5 kilometers of its rail network. The distance, which includes both the Sukhumvit line from Mo Chit to On Nut and the Silom line from the National Sports Stadium to Taksin Bridge, will see fares increase from 15-42 baht to 16-44 baht. The hike does not extend to additional stations on both lines.

Passengers will now be charged 16 baht for the first station, 23 for the next two and so forth until the furthest station at 44 baht. The 1-3 baht increase will still maintain fares at below the concession cost of 20.11-60.31 baht. The adjustment will also affect 30 day passes with each trip to be 1 baht more.

While the new fares will be introduced on October 1, Rabbit Card users will be able to pay original fares until March 31, 2018. Passengers are encouraged to pick up the cards to enjoy the reduced fares. Senior citizens above age 60 will continue to pay fares reduced by half.

Update August 29, 2017

Police step up investigation into former PM's flight


BANGKOK– Royal Thai Police are to discuss former Prime Minister Yingluck's flight from court proceedings, with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) while already confirming it had no prior knowledge of her intentions.

NCPO Spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree has responded to speculation that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was aided in her departure for places unknown, ahead of the delivery of a verdict in the case involving her government’s rice pledging scheme, saying that the present government and NCPO have been completely transparent in their dealings and would never obstruct the judicial process. He pointed out such views are only personal assumptions by some people and are not based on any evidence, noting that acceptance of such unfounded opinions is pointless . The spokesman urged controversial opinions be kept private so as not to confuse the general public.

Meanwhile, Special Branch 4 Commander Pol Maj Gen Chayaphol Chatchaidej indicated that a warrant to search Yingluck’s home has yet to be sought as police have yet to ascertain where she might have launched her escape. Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Sriwara Rangsiphramnakul has ordered all evidence to be assembled for a progress meeting.

Bryde's Whale viewing area to be developed as a tourist attraction

SAMUT SAKHON,– Members of the press and tourism operators have been taken on a tour of an area in the Gulf of Thailand where Bryde’s whales have been spotted.

President of the Samut Sakhon Fishermen’s Association, Kamjorn Mongkoltrilak led the expedition, departing from Muang district of the province through an area mostly comprised of mussel farms. The tour also passed a shrine set up in the open water and slated to be a major tourist attraction in the future. It was originally constructed in 1998 but was left in disrepair after being hit by a major storm.

The site for whale viewing is 16 kilometers from shore and takes about two hours to reach. During the trip led by Kamjorn, a mother and calf whale dubbed Wandee and Wanmai, were seen. The entire route is to be converted into a tourist attraction for the province.

Labor Ministry considers minimum wage criteria for 2018

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Labor held a seminar to consider the criteria for the minimum wage in 2018, taking into account factors in varied areas and industries.

Deputy Labor Ministry Permanent-Secretary Singhadet Chu-umnart presided over the seminar at Century Park Hotel, Bangkok, which was held as a guideline for provincial subcommittees responsible for adjustment to the minimum wage in each area and industry.

Joint efforts will be taken between the government and private sector considering the productivity of workforce, and focusing on the promotion of high-skilled workers whose demands will increase due to the country's restructured manufacturing sector which is focusing more on the production of high-quality goods.

The adjustment to the wage according to the skill levels will allow workers with more skills to have the opportunity to make more earnings than those in the non-skill category.

The minimum wage for one province will not necessarily be equal to that for another, however.

Update August 28, 2017

There is no law forbidding politicians to have unmarried partners

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has no plan to ban politicians from having an unmarried spouse.

First vice president of the NLA Surachai Liengboonlertchai has denied a rumor that the lawmakers are drafting legislation that bans political office holders from having an unmarried partner, confirming that such a law will not be considered by the legislature.

He stated that the NLA has recently accepted in principle legislation to do with conflicts between the public duties and private interests of state officials. The law penalizes both married and unmarried spouses of guilty politicians, said Surachai, explaining that the move prevents married partners from avoiding prosecution or fleeing from justice by getting a divorce.

Surachai said the current anti-corruption law only imposes penalties on married partners, which is a major legal loophole that can be exploited.

Hat Yai Airport to get major facelift

SONGKHLA,(NNT) – Hat Yai International Airport will undergo a major renovation amid an increasing number of passengers.

Hat Yai Airport is a gateway to five southern provinces, namely Songkhla, Satun, Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani. It also has direct flights to Malaysia and Singapore. At present, the airport is capable of handling 2.5 million passengers a year.

In 2016, the airport saw more than 3.9 million passengers, which far exceeded its capacity, causing delays, long lines of travelers, and over crowding.

Expecting the number of passengers to reach 4.5 million and up to 31,000 flights in 2019, the airport will now undergo a transformation which includes enlarging the apron, enlarging the passenger hall, adding more pit stops, improving the taxiway and the taxiway lighting system, and installing an intrusion prevention system.

The renovations will be completed by 2019, according to airport officials.

PM Prayut to visit Sa Kaeo to inspect on border crossing operation


BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Sa Kaeo Province to inspect the province’s border crossing operation.

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha will lead a team of officials on an inspection tour in Sa Kaeo Province on August 28, when he will receive a briefing on efforts to tackle counterfeit branding and piracy as well as issues related to foreign workers.

The PM also plans to get first-hand information on how officers at the Sa Kaeo immigration office perform their jobs.

Later, he will present land rental agreements, home models and production tools to representatives of local cooperatives before visiting residents and others in Khok Sung District.

Ahead of the PM’s visit, Sa Kaeo Governor Klanarong Pongcharoen traveled to Khok Sung District to make sure all preparations are ready for Gen. Prayut’s trip.

Update August 26 - 27, 2017

Thai pilgrims preparing to officially perform Hajj ceremonies next week

MECCA, (NNT) – Thai pilgrims have begun preparing to officially perform Hajj ceremonies next week, while the Saudi authorities have provided officials to ensure safety and conveniences for all Hajj pilgrims.

The last group of 8,812 Thai Hajj pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia on 23 August 2017. They are still performing religious activities at the Al Haram Mosque and have begun preparing to depart for Mina field, which is about five kilometers away from Mecca before heading to the Arafah Field, the first step of the official Hajj ceremonies.

The Saudi government has revealed that 1.3 million pilgrims from all over the world have already arrived in Saudi Arabia.

Last week, the Saudi Arabian government has issued an ad hoc operation plan to facilitate pilgrims from around the world, which includes security and facilitation measures for the Hajj pilgrims. The government has mobilized over 95,000 staff working in various units such as security units, service units and medical units to accommodate the Muslim pilgrims.

The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umroh has ensured that all Hajj pilgrims will be taken care of without discrimination.

Chatuchak Market to develop app for shoppers

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is modernizing Bangkok's Chatuchak Market to further attract tourists, partnering with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) in developing a mobile application for shopping.

platform for vendors to manage their stock and accounting and receive payments via PromptPay. Currently, 50 vendors are participating in the platform.

Under the memorandum, the SRT and SCB will develop an mobile app for finding shops and discovering promotions. The information will be available in Thai, English, and Mandarin. The full version of the app is expected to launch in November.

Chatuchak Market attracts between 200,000-300,000 visitors during the weekend. The new policy is expected to increase customers and raise the standards of the market to become a prominent attraction in Asia.

Buriram to host MotoGP 2018-2020


BURIRAM,(NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn and Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul visited Buriram province to follow up on the province’s readiness to host MotoGP 2018-2020.

Gen Thanasak and Kobkarn were welcomed by Buriram Governor Anusorn Keawkangwan and a group of local business people and state enterprise representatives at the provincial city hall. Gen Thanasak first presented a policy aimed at transforming the province into a global sports and tourism city.

Gen Thanasak later traveled to Chang International Circuit, which will be used as a venue to host MotoGP. He was briefed on the progress made to prepare the venue for the international event. The private sector also asked the government to improve roads, the airport, the transportation system and medical services to ensure a successful organization of the event.

Gen Thanasak believed the event would increase tourism activities and promote economic growth in the region.

A H1N1 virus found in Mae Hong Son refugee camp

MAE HONG SON,(NNT) - Influenza A H1N1 infections have been discovered in a temporary refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province.

To prevent a possible outbreak, Mae Hong Son Governor Suebsak Iamwijarn has told the refugees not to leave Ban Mae Lama Luang Temporary Refugee Camp in Sop Moei district as two children and one teenager are infected with A H1N1 virus.

The infections were confirmed by the Faculty of Pathology of Chiang Mai University. Medical personnel are keeping an eye on 20 people at the camp who began to show signs of illness although there is no confirmation that they have contracted the same virus.

The provincial public health office has already deployed its officials to the camp to disinfect the site.

Immigration Bureau finds no sign of Ms Yingluck going abroad

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Immigration Bureau has indicated it has not discovered any signs of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra fleeing the country.

Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoonthorn confirmed today that the bureau has found no recent travel history of Ms Yingluck at any airport or border crossing. On May 19, 2015, the Supreme Court's Division of Holders of Political Office issued a travel ban on Ms Yingluck pending a verdict in the rice pledging case.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said that travel logs reveal that Ms Yingluck last traveled abroad to Japan on October 20, 2014, and returned to Thailand on November 2 the same year. He noted, however, that the Immigration Bureau would not have travel information in the event that the former Prime Minister crossed the Thai border at a non-checkpoint.

Farmers urged to harvest crops as more flooding anticipated next month


CHANTABURI,(NNT) – Royal Irrigation Department (RID) Office 12 has warned areas in the Chao Phraya River basin to harvest crops before September 15 when heavy rains are expected to set off flooding.

Latest reports have indicated flooding in Chantaburi province has begun to lift with roads now traversable by vehicles after water levels dropped from 1 meter deep to 50 centimeters. Much of the flood water is draining rapidly into Chantaburi River and a reprieve from rains has allowed the situation to improve. The RID is however maintaining its release of water into the river to keep it from bursting its banks.

Widespread showers in Bueng Kan province meanwhile, have resulted in minor flooding and traffic. In Khon Kaen, officials are releasing water into the Chi River in anticipation of more rains later this month.

RID Office 12 Director Suchart Charoensri has said a monsoon front passing by the country between now and August 29 will dump rains on much of the upper region and likely cause a new wave of flooding. Farmers along the Chao Phraya River are encouraged to harvest any crops before September 15 so that their lands can be used as monkey cheek reservoirs.

Update August 25, 2017

Supreme Court issues arrest warrant for ex-PM Yingluck Sinanwatra

In this Aug. 1, 2017 file photo, Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Supreme Court for to make final statement of the hearing in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

By Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Todd Pitman, Associated Press/Agencies

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's Supreme Court has issued an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to show up for a contentious trial verdict in which she could face a 10-year prison term for alleged negligence in overseeing a money-losing rice subsidy program.

A judge read out a statement saying that Yingluck's lawyers had informed the court she could not attend because of an earache. But the judge said the court did not believe the excuse because there's no medical verification, and the court would issue a warrant for her arrest as a result. The court also ordered the seizure of her 30-million-baht bail bond.

A verdict had been expected to be delivered within hours in the tense trial, in which Yingluck is accused of negligence in overseeing the rice subsidy program that cost the state billions of dollars. The hearing was postponed to Sept. 27.

Yingluck has pleaded innocent, and decries the charges as politically motivated. If convicted, she has the right to appeal.

The case is the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle by the nation's elite minority to crush the powerful political machine founded by Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a 2006 and now lives in exile. He has not commented on his sister's case.

Thaksin's ouster triggered years of upheaval and division that has pitted a poor, rural majority in the north that supports the Shinawatras against royalists, the military and their urban backers.

The rice subsidies, promised to farmers during the 2011 election, helped Yingluck's party ascend to power. Critics say they were effectively a means of vote buying, while Yingluck supporters welcomed them.

Yingluck's government was overthrown in another coup in 2014, and the military has ruled the Southeast Asian nation ever since.
The junta has clamped down since then, banning political gatherings of more than five people. The long-awaited decision on Yingluck's fate has rekindled tensions in the nation, but the military remains firmly in charge.

Fearing potential unrest, authorities tried to deter people from turning out Friday by threatening legal action against anyone planning to help transport Yingluck supporters. Yingluck also posted a message on her Facebook page urging followers to stay away, saying she worried about their safety.

Police officers deploy to positions outside Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Thousands of people turned up outside the Bangkok court house anyway, though, along with thousands of police who erected barricades around the court.

Prawit Pongkunnut, a 55-year-old rice farmer from the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, said he came with 10 other farmers to show solidarity with Yingluck.

"We're here to give her moral support because she truly cared and helped us out," Prawit said.

A supporter of Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra waves outside the Supreme Court (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

The rice subsidy plan Yingluck oversaw paid farmers about 50 percent more that they would have made on the world market. The hope was to drive up prices by stockpiling the grain, but other Asian producers filled the void instead, knocking Thailand from its perch as the world's leading rice exporter.

The current government, which is still trying to sell off the rice stockpiles, says Yingluck's administration lost as much as $17 billion because it couldn't export at a price commensurate with what it had paid farmers.

Yinguck pleaded innocent in the case, saying she was the victim of a "political game" aimed at crushing the Shinawatra clan.

In a separate administrative ruling that froze her bank accounts, Yingluck was held responsible for about $1 billion of those losses — an astounding personal penalty that prosecutors argued Yingluck deserved because she ignored warnings of corruption but continued the program anyway.

Associated Press journalists Grant Peck and Kankanit Wiriyasajja contributed to this report.

Cabinet, military top brass offer birthday blessings to Privy Council President

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The Prime Minister vowed to help pull the country out of conflicts as he wished the Privy Council President a happy birthday.

Ahead of the 97th birthday anniversary of Privy Council President and Statesman Gen Prem Tinsulanonda on August 26, 2017, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha led Cabinet members and military commanders in offering their well wishes to Gen Prem at the Si Sao Thewet residence.

In his statement, the Prime Minister praised Gen Prem for setting a good example in promoting national development, upholding honesty and doing good deeds for the society. He then encouraged all sectors to jointly promote national unity and pledged the government’s commitment to pushing the country forward under the Pracharat policy. With cooperation from the media, the premier was adamant the country will be liberated from ongoing conflicts and poverty and will eventually emerge as a regional superpower.

In response, Gen Prem conveyed his appreciation to all for their hard work, sacrifices and dedication to creating happiness among Thai citizens. He also wished for the Prime Minister’s unwavering determination towards the betterment of the nation as well as success of the entire Cabinet.

On this occasion, the Privy Council President presented his well-wishers with a book in memory of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, authored by Venerable Somdet Phra Phutthakhosachan, as a souvenir.

Thai muslims warned against being lured into attending Hajj pilgrimage sponsored by foreign countries

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Secretariat of Thai Hajj Affairs Promotion Committee has warned Thai Muslims against being lured into attending Hajj pilgrimage tour groups that are sponsored by other countries.

The Department of Provincial Administration has issued a statement that someone who claimed to be a representative of a Hajj business entity posted a message on social media inviting those who are interested to attend Hajj pilgrimage sponsored by another country to meet at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Gate 10, Departure Zone, on 24 August 2017 at 4.00 p.m. to prepare to leave for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj ceremonies on a Thai Airways International Public Company Limited’s flight at 10.00 p.m. on the same day.

The Secretariat of Thai Hajj Affairs Promotion Committee has confirmed that Thai Airways International Public Company Limited has prepared a total of 31 flights to accommodate 8,833 Thai pilgrims to fly to Saudi Arabia. The last flight departed from Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday, 23 August, at 2.40 p.m.

In addition, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Thailand has confirmed that it will not issue visas for Thai Hajj pilgrims after 18 August 2017. The Secretariat of Thai Hajj Affairs Promotion Committee did not find the Hajj business entity on its Hajj business operator register.

Therefore, the Department of Provincial Administration as the Secretariat of Thai Hajj Affairs Promotion Committee has warned Thai Muslims against being lured into attending a Hajj pilgrimage arranged and sponsored by another country, advising them to think carefully before deciding to travel to perform the Hajj ceremonies with any person or group of people.

Those who believe they have been deceived are advised to seek legal action by informing their local chief district officer, deputy district chief, subdistrict headman, village headman, provincial Damrongtham center, district Damrongtham center or the Secretariat of Thai Hajj Affairs Promotion Committee (Islam and Hajj Affairs Organization Promotion Division), Tel. 02-223-6740 or 02-221-0151-8 Ext. 3186 and 3187.

ADB says Thai economy could grow 4.2% in next 5 yrs

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a report forecasting Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 4.2 percent per year in the next five years due to improving economic indicators across the board and the country's mobilization of infrastructure projects.

The ADB released its report on infrastructural needs of 45 Asian countries. The report indicated that between 2016-20, the region plans on investing a total of 881 billion US dollars in energy, transportation, telecommunications, plumbing, and public sanitation.

Thailand is expected to require an average of 14 billion dollars per year to fund its infrastructure projects, but expects it to receive six billion. To bridge the gap, the ADB advised the Thai government to reform its tax structure to encourage private investment and borrow money from abroad, a feasible option as Thailand's public debt ratio remains stable.

Should the Thai government mobilize investment according to plan, the ADB expects the country's GDP to grow at a rate of 4.2 percent per year in the next five years. Meanwhile, growth this year is expected at 3.5 percent and next year at 3.6 percent.

Update August 24, 2017

Clearer overview for EEC projects

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thailand's export sector in July expanded by 10.5 percent to 18.85 billion US dollars, reflecting global economic recovery. Exports in the first seven months of the year grew at the fastest pace in six years.

The Ministry of Commerce reported good economic growth in all markets, including the United States, the European Union, and Japan. China recorded the most growth at 29.2 percent. Thai exports grew across the board, with rice products expanding by 98.8 percent due to the government's policy of decreasing its stockpile to less than one million tonnes.

Exports in the first seven months of the year totaled 130 billion dollars, expanding the most in six years at 8.2 percent growth. The ministry expects 2017 exports to grow 5 - 6 percent, up from its original forecast of around 5 percent.

July imports were valued at 19.04 billion dollars, marking an 18.5 percent increase. This resulted in a 188-million-dollar trade deficit, the first in over two years. However, the ministry said the deficit was due to short-term gold buying and that trade in the first seven months of the year is at a surplus of over six billion dollars.

Crowd control measures in place for Yingluck's supporters this Friday

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Royal Thai Police is planning to invoke the 2015 Public Assembly Act and adopt the Korakot 52 plan to keep the supporters of former premier Yingluck Shinwatra under control this Friday.

Deputy Police Chief Sriwara Rangsipramanakul attended a meeting with police and security units nationwide to formulate safety measures ahead of August 25th when Yingluck’s supporters are expected to turn up at the Supreme Court to give their support to the former prime minister.

The Supreme Court is going to hand down a ruling over the rice-pledging case in which Yingluck is accused of dereliction of duty.

The Deputy Police Chief insisted that Yingluck's supporters will be asked to stay inside a designated area of 1,500 square meters. Around 3,700 crowd control police and 4,000 traffic police will be deployed at the Supreme Court to maintain law and order.

Metal barriers will be set up around the court to prevent unauthorized personnel from entering the premises. Those coming to support Yingluck will have to go through security checkpoints for safety reasons.

NLA launches self defense against domestic violence program for students

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the Department of Women's Affairs and Family Development (DWF) has organized a self-defense training program for students as domestic violence is on the rise.

NLA member Suwannee Siriwetchapan, in her capacity as the committee chairperson on women’s affairs, opened the self-defense program organized by the DWF and the NLA with the objective of teaching the students to protect themselves against violence at home.

The program is aimed at encouraging the students to be compassionate towards others in society. She says the number of domestic-violence related incidents in Thailand has been on the rise.

Most of those who physically abuse family members had once been victims of abuse themselves, said Suwannee, adding that family violence also stems from the abusers’ use of illegal drugs and alcohol.

Update August 23, 2017

Pavena Foundation saves Thai woman from human trafficking in Bahrain

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Pavena Foundation for Children and Women has successfully coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to return a Thai woman deceived into prostitution in Bahrain home.

The 21 year old woman from Chaiyaphum province was swindled into being a human trafficking victim after being told she could travel to Bahrain to apply for a job. After reaching out for help, the victim’s family was told by her captors that they would have send a replacement or pay 180,000 baht, prompting them to contact the Pavena Foundation, which in turn coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Thai Embassy in Bahrain and Bahraini police to secure her return.

Upon returning, the woman gave a statement to police indicating she was not harmed but was kept with 10 other Thai women being sold into prostitution.

The foundation has warned the public of being enticed into work abroad, especially to jobs promised in Bahrain, Malaysia and South Korea, where many Thai women have been deceived into prostitution or illegal labor.

Foundation Chairwoman Pavena Hongsakul reported that in 2016, her organization saved 95 women, the most from Bahrain at 33 followed by 16 from Malaysia. Since January of this year it has received 66 reports, 33 involving Bahrain.

Thai GDP posts 4-year record growth in Q2 2017

BANGKOK,(NNT) – A GDP growth rate of as high as 3.7 percent has been recorded in the second quarter of this year, leading to an upward revision of the growth estimate for the entire year.

The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has announced that GDP in the second quarter jumped 3.7 percent, the highest rate in 17 quarters or over four years. The significant increase signified a more robust recovery in the Thai economy fueled by public spending and private consumption and investment.

Exports, meanwhile, were valued at over 56 billion US dollars, increasing by 8 percent in line with growing economies of Thailand’s trading partners. Judging from the improvements in exports as well as public and private investment, tourism and agricultural household income, the NESDB decided to adjust the annual economic growth forecast up from 3.3-3.8 percent to 3.5-4.0 percent.

Nonetheless, there remain some risk factors for the Thai economy, such as uncertainties in the US economic and trade policies, geopolitical conflicts that could affect trading partners and continuity of the government’s mega infrastructure projects.

MRT ridership increases due to Blue-Purple lines connection

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The number of MRT passengers has increased up to 50,000 daily due to the connection between its Blue Line and Purple Line at Tao Poon station.

Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA)'s Deputy Governor Rithika Suparat revealed the number of MRT passengers has risen, given the interchange Tao Poon station between the Blue Line and Purple Line.

He said the ridership has surged from 33,000 passengers to 50,000 passengers daily, with the average of 47,000 passengers per day since the opening of the connected line on 11 August 2017. The ridership during weekends has increased to 29,000 from 22,000 daily.

The promotional fare for MRT Purple Line will remain valid until the end of this year, after which the fare structure might be revised.

Update August 22, 2017

Police to introduce barcode traffic tickets

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Royal Thai Police is preparing to introduce new traffic tickets later this year and bring back the penalty point system.

According to the Royal Government Gazette, the latest traffic tickets will contain English translations and barcodes, allowing motorists to pay fines at branches of Krung Thai Bank with Police Ticket Management (PTM) booths. The new system will come into effect within 120 days.

Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police Pol Lt Gen Wittaya Prayongpan disclosed that the e-ticketing system, which will be released in December, will allow ticket holders to contest fines if they can prove that the offending vehicle does not belong to them. The English translations will also help foreigners with traffic violations comply with penalties.

Traffic tickets issued by police and those sent to motorists by post will remain in use. The Royal Thai Police explained that the new system aims to facilitate record-keeping and compliance with traffic regulations. Police also plan to revive the penalty point system to deter traffic violations and is discussing the issue with relevant agencies.

Treasury Dept announces royal funeral commemorative coins

RATCHABURI,(NNT) - The Treasury Department of Ratchaburi Province has unveiled a four-coin set commemorating the royal funeral of His Late Majesty King Rama IX, available for reservation from August 22nd to September 30th this year.

Anchalee Rodpon of the Ratchaburi Provincial Treasury Office revealed that the set includes a gold coin priced at 50,000 baht, a silver coin at 2,000 baht, a blackened bronze coin at 3,000 baht and cupronickel coin at 100 baht. People can reserve the coins by presenting their national ID cards at 20 provincial treasury offices across the country.

Each person can make up to three reservations. Each reservation is eligible to purchase 1 gold coin, 2 silver coins, 1 bronze coin, and 1 cupronickel coin. Anchalee indicated that the bronze coin can only be reserved Treasury Department units. The coins will be distributed on January 29th next year.

SCB unveils SCB Easy to support mobile banking services

BANGKOK - Siam Commercial Bank has unveiled its application SCB Easy to support the country's national e-payment policy, aiming to reach eight million users by the end of next year.

SCB Easy enables users to make transfers, deposits, bill payments, and other financial transactions on their mobile devices at all time. The app is secured with Easy App Protection, which protects accounts in the event of phone theft or hacking.

The Bank of Thailand revealed that the number of mobile banking transactions increased from 13 million accounts in 2015 to over 20 million in 2016.

Update August 21, 2017

Automatic Channel for foreigners launched at Suvarnabhumi Airport

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Immigration Bureau has launched the Automatic Channel to register foreign passengers for the first time at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Pol. Lt. Natthorn Phrosunthorn, Commander of the Immigration Bureau, and Mr. Sirote Duangrat, Director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, jointly opened the Automatic Channel for foreigners at Suvarnabhumi Airport after opening the Automatic Channel for Thai nationals.

This is the first time to open the Automatic Channel for foreigners, and Singaporean passengers were the first to be allowed to use it. Suvarnabhumi Airport will later consider expanding the services of the Automatic Channels to passengers from some other countries by taking into account security issues.

Singapore is the first nation allowed to use the Automatic Channels under the mutual cooperation between Thailand and Singapore. Meanwhile, Singaporean immigration authorities are also considering the use of Automatic Channel for Thai passengers traveling to their country.

In addition, Automatic Channel Passport for foreigners will be extended to other international airports nationwide, and will soon provide services to more foreign passengers such as Japan and Hong Kong.

NCPO receives over 1,000 complaints in a month

BANGKOK – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has received multiple complaints in the month since launching its complaint center.

Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, the deputy spokesperson of the NCPO, said the NCPO’s complaint center which was officially open on July 14th received a total of 1,310 complaints during its first month of operation. Of that number, 688 complaints were made on the Hotline 1299, 433 complaints in mail to PO Box no. 444, and 209 complaints were received via complaint centers in 69 provinces.

Colonel Sirichan said 129 complaints were lodged against state officials for misconduct and corrupt practices, noting that other complaints were in regard to people’s well being and hardships.

The deputy spokesperson said complaints involving corruption and state officers will be dealt with first while asking the public to make sure their information is reliable.

Deputy education minister urges new teachers to follow in HM the late King’s footsteps

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Deputy Education Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul has called on new teachers to espouse the principles of HM the late King.

Giving a special lecture to 573 new recruits, the deputy minister said teachers are students’ role models because they are the ones students look up to, thus it is the teachers’ responsibility to set an example for the youngsters to follow.

M.L. Panadda said it takes patience, commitment, and kindness to educate others while urging all educators to adopt the teachings of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He then asked the teachers to instill honesty, responsibility, self-sufficiency, and morality in their students, because these are the attributes that will move the country forward.

Update August 19 - 20, 2017

Thailand Live Gastronomy festival organises to boost culinary tourism in the Kingdom

In photo, from left: Mrs. Thaniwan Kulmongkol, President of Thai Restaurant Association; Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor; Associate Professor Wisanu Subsompon, Ph.D. Vice President for Property and Innovation Management, Chulalongkorn University; Chef Natthapol Pavapaiboon, Thai Celebrity Chef, jointly announced the plan to host the Thailand Live Gastronomy at today’s press conference.

Bangkok,The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising the ‘Thailand Live Gastronomy’ festival as part of the strategies to put greater emphasis on Gastronomy Tourism, which is considered as an important part of the travel through unique Thai local experiences.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Gastronomy Tourism is one of the key highlights in the TAT’s marketing plan 2018 to heighten Thailand as a preferred destination. We aim to leverage the uniqueness of Thai food to motivate tourists and foodies to embark on a culinary journey to taste signature dishes in renowned towns and cities across the country as a way of exploring unique Thai culture and ways of life.”
The Thailand Live Gastronomy, which will be presented with a tagline ‘Flavours to the World’, is scheduled to take place next week, from 25 to 27 August, at one of Bangkok’s famous shopping and dining venues, Siam Square.

The event will be showcasing must-try signature local dishes from around the country in the ‘Original’ section, special menus from seven famous Street Food areas of Bangkok, and fresh seafood from fisherman villages in the Southern Region. Thailand’s signature dishes including Tom Yum Kung. Phat Thai, Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad), Massaman Curry, and Green Curry – voted among the World’s 50 Best Foods by CNN Travel readers – will also be available for visitors to enjoy. In addition, four of Thailand’s famous tuk-tuks or three-wheeled auto rickshaws will also be converted into local food trucks.

There will be a ‘Gastronomy Innovation’ section where talented Thai and foreign chefs will be showcasing innovative ways of cooking Thai food in a specially-designed kitchen. Local and international visitors will also have the chance to try and buy some rare tropical fruits from local orchards. In addition, organic food will be available while Thai rice, the staple food of Thailand, will be presented in an exhibition as well as in the forms of many different dishes.

The three-day food festival will be entertaining visitors with traditional performances including Thai kick-boxing or Muay Thai, mini concerts by Thai pop singers, cultural shows and traditional Thai music produced by Thai musical instruments.

Mr. Yuthasak added, “We hope that after having the chance to taste the many signature dishes on offer at the Thailand Live Gastronomy, local and international visitors will be inspired and motivated to visit many parts of Thailand to taste local dishes in their destinations of origin.”

Some of the other highlighted activities in the TAT’s Gastronomy Tourism initiative are the launch of the Michelin Guide Bangkok at the end of this year, and the hosting of the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok next year.

Dinosaur fossils found in Phitsanulok

PHITSANULOK, (NNT) - A group of students of Naresuan University have found fossils in Phitsanulok province. Geologists have been invited to study the petrified remains.

The fossils were discovered near a reserved forest in Wang Thong district where the geography students were surveying the strata. The prehistoric remnants have been unearthed for the first time there. The remains are believed to belong to carnivorous marine dinosaurs.

Ban Klang Subdistrict Administrative Organization has put the site off limits to the general public to pave the way for geologists’ examination which will begin on 19th August.

Thais continue to mourn HM King Rama IX

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Thais from across the country have journeyed to the Grand Palace to pay their respects to His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Dusit Throne Hall welcomed Thais from all walks of life from Bangkok and distant provinces such as Lamphun, Nan, Sa Kaeo, Surat Thani, Ranong, Phuket and Mukdahan. All were united in their gratitude for His Majesty's dedication to his people throughout his 70-year reign. Palace officials have also been stationed to service visitors and provide free food and water.

Meanwhile, officials have set up a station at Ban Manangkhasila on Lan Luang Road to gather artificial flowers made for the royal funeral. Deputy Governor of Bangkok Chakkapan Phewngam revealed that the capital will set up a total of 39 stations. He added that officials will then conduct drills on manning the stations and ensuring safety for visitors.

Update August 18, 2017

Chiang Rai raises flood alert, Maha Sarakham & Bueng Kan expedite aid measures

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) - A return of heavy rain has led to the inundation of some areas of Chiang Rai, prompting the northernmost province to raise a flood alert.

A downpour on Wednesday night caused the Sai River to overflow its banks, swamping nearby shops and houses and making the road under the Thailand-Myanmar border bridge impassable. Governor Narongsak Osotthanakon has asked the chiefs of Mae Sai district and Mae Sai Subdistrict Municipality to monitor the situation round the clock.

In the Northeast, Vice Governor of Maha Sarakham, Phusit Somchit has called a meeting to discuss aid measures for flood-disrupted residents. Local administrative organizations have been assigned to assess the damage to properties and agricultural areas in the districts of Kosum Phisai and Muaeng Maha Sarakham. The flooding reportedly damaged eight houses and more than 585,000 rai of farmland, killing four people.

In Bueng Kan, floodwaters continue to recede thanks to a pause in rainfall over the past couple of days, causing the water level of the Mekong River to drop to 8.80 meters. The situation is expected to return to normal in the next two weeks. Governor Pisut Bussayapanpong, meanwhile has traveled to inundated areas to hand relief items to villagers.

IEAT eyes redesigning industrial estates to cater to SMEs

BANGKOK, (NNT) – The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is ready to adjust its industrial estate development plans to better accommodate small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

While delivering his policy address to executives of the IEAT, Minister of Industry Uttama Savanayana suggested that more focus be placed on industrial development in each community in keeping with the national strategy. As a way of raising the potential of SMEs, the minister instructed the IEAT to shift its development plans for industrial estates towards the cluster format in order to attract more SME operators. The authority will draw conclusions on the plans within two months.

During the first nine months of the 2017 fiscal year, the IEAT reported that property sales and rentals within industrial estates have expanded to 2,160 rai in total, most of which are located in the Eastern Economic Corridor. Investment capital has increased to over 102 billion baht from 67 billion baht last year. Most of the capital belongs to the automobile and parts and electronics industries.

Ministry of Industry delivers policy address on EEC development


BANGKOK,(NNT) - Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana has delivered a policy address to the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) on developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) according to the Thailand 4.0 agenda.

Uttama stressed the importance of accommodating industrial clusters in the EEC, as they are target industries that connect the region with border economic zones as well as China's One Belt, One Road Initiative.

The minister has received a report on the IEAT's 20-year strategic plan from 2017-36, which aims to add another 15,000 rai of industrial estate over the next five years and incorporate new technologies in managing public utilities.

Regarding the development of industrial estates in the EEC, the IEAT will develop the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate into a "Smart Park" to accommodate high-tech industries, such as the petrochemical and medical technology industries. The park will cover 1,466 rai and cost approximately one billion baht.

Update August 17, 2017

Renovation of Royal Great Victory Carriage now 90% complete

BANGKOK,(NNT) - Renovations on the royal carriage for the cremation ceremony of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej is 90% complete.

Gold leaf and glass sheets are being used to restore 138 small angel figurines. The figurines were removed from the Royal Great Victory Carriage so they could be hand decorated by experienced artisans. Once this process is complete, the figurines will be reattached on the carriage.

The installation of ‘Prak’, two long decorative wooden pieces in the shape of the mythical Naga sea serpent, will soon begin after the carriage wheels are replaced. The wooden pieces will be placed underneath the carriage, close to the wheels.

The entire renovation process of royal carriage is expected to be completed within the month. Troops from the Royal Thai Army will also help set up and test the integrity of the Naga ladder, which will be used to elevate the royal urn of His Majesty late King onto the carriage.

Finally, an asphalt road is being paved in front of the building which houses the carriage, allowing it to travel during the royal funeral ceremony.

Transport Ministry to report on high-speed rail project at mobile cabinet meeting next week

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Transport will report the progress of the high-speed rail project for Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima route, under the cooperation between the Thai and Chinese governments to the mobile cabinet’s meeting next week.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termphitthayaphaisit disclosed the Ministry of Transport will propose the signing of contract No. 2.1 on the design for the high-speed rail project for Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima route under the cooperation between the Thai and Chinese governments and report on the progress in the high-speed rail project for Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima to the mobile cabinet's meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima province next week.

The Ministry of Transport will also report on the progress of the inter-urban highway's construction project, or the motorway from Bang Pa-in to Nakhon Ratchasima, along with rehabilitation efforts for flood-damaged roads in the Northeast.

Last weekend, the Ministry of Transport inspected the construction sites of the project for constructing high-speed rail, Phase I, Klang Dong – Pang Asok station, covering a distance of 3.5 kilometers.

Although the construction will cross into areas under the responsibility of the State Railway of Thailand or SRT, the minister believes the issue would not be problematic, as the Department of Highways is the responsible agency for the construction project.

Thai-U.S. military exercise kicks off in Kanchanaburi

KANCHANABURI,(NNT) - First Army Region commander Lt Gen Apirat Kongsompong presided over the opening ceremony of the Hanuman Guardian joint military exercise 2017 between Thai and American soldiers in Kanchanaburi province.

Held at the 9th Infantry Division Headquarters, the joint military exercise is hosted by the Royal Thai Army and US Army Pacific.

The Hanuman Guardian joint military exercise is an annual training aimed at improving humanitarian assistance, disaster relief capabilities, infantry, aviation, medical and battle staff.

Around 725 Thai soldiers and 683 American soldiers are taking part in the exercise led by US Army Pacific Chief Brigadier General Peter B. Andrysiak.

The exercise will come to an end on August 25th.



Back to Main Page

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Thailand’s tourist arrivals and revenue continues growth in 3rd Quarter of 2017

Thailand inbound travel surges 30% in Chinese search results on TripAdvisor

Tourist police promote Kanchanaburi as safe tourist city

Chiang Mai Culture Office meets on 20-year strategy

Dept of Land Transport to share GPS information for pricing of insurance premium

BTS fares increased

Police step up investigation into former PM's flight

Bryde's Whale viewing area to be developed as a tourist attraction

Labor Ministry considers minimum wage criteria for 2018

There is no law forbidding politicians to have unmarried partners

Hat Yai Airport to get major facelift

PM Prayut to visit Sa Kaeo to inspect on border crossing operation

Thai pilgrims preparing to officially perform Hajj ceremonies next week

Chatuchak Market to develop app for shoppers

Buriram to host MotoGP 2018-2020

A H1N1 virus found in Mae Hong Son refugee camp

Immigration Bureau finds no sign of Ms Yingluck going abroad

Farmers urged to harvest crops as more flooding anticipated next month

Supreme Court issues arrest warrant for ex-PM Yingluck Sinanwatra

Cabinet, military top brass offer birthday blessings to Privy Council President

Thai muslims warned against being lured into attending Hajj pilgrimage sponsored by foreign countries

ADB says Thai economy could grow 4.2% in next 5 yrs

Export sector growing at fastest pace in 6 years

Crowd control measures in place for Yingluck's supporters this Friday

NLA launches self defense against domestic violence program for students

Pavena Foundation saves Thai woman from human trafficking in Bahrain

Thai GDP posts 4-year record growth in Q2 2017

MRT ridership increases due to Blue-Purple lines connection

Police to introduce barcode traffic tickets

Treasury Dept announces royal funeral commemorative coins

SCB unveils SCB Easy to support mobile banking services

Automatic Channel for foreigners launched at Suvarnabhumi Airport

NCPO receives over 1,000 complaints in a month

Deputy education minister urges new teachers to follow in HM the late King’s footsteps

Thailand Live Gastronomy festival organises to boost culinary tourism in the Kingdom

Dinosaur fossils found in Phitsanulok

Thais continue to mourn HM King Rama IX

Chiang Rai raises flood alert, Maha Sarakham & Bueng Kan expedite aid measures

IEAT eyes redesigning industrial estates to cater to SMEs

Ministry of Industry delivers policy address on EEC development

Renovation of Royal Great Victory Carriage now 90% complete

Transport Ministry to report on high-speed rail project at mobile cabinet meeting next week

Thai-U.S. military exercise kicks off in Kanchanaburi



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