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Update July 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Update July 25, 2017

Bangkok flood tunnel project forces canalside communities to relocate

BANGKOK, (NNT) - Two canalside communities in Ladphrao of Bangkok district have agreed to relocate to make way for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s flood relief project.

Deputy Governor of Bangkok Chakkapan Piew-ngam and representatives of related agencies have surveyed the construction of the capital’s flood relief tunnel, which is 20% complete.

More than 200 homes overhanging the canal at Khlong Latphrao 45 are preparing to relocate to properties in the same neighborhood leased by the Treasury Department. Wang Thonglang District Office has been assigned to arrange additional storage for their belongings.

Meanwhile, residents in Ladphrao 80 have voiced their concern about the construction of a u-turn under Pracha Uthit Bridge will affect the construction of new homes in the area. The BMA Department of Public Works will review blueprints for the new homes, which will be completed by next week.


Public health offices prepare for medical emergencies during flooding

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has instructed its provincial offices and hospitals nationwide to prepare for possible flooding, as a tropical storm moves across the country.

Public Health Minister Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn told public health offices and hospitals nationwide, especially those in 28 flood-prone provinces, to brace for heavy rains after the Meteorological Department issued a tropical storm warning. They have been told to ensure the efficiency of their drainage systems and to safeguard all medical equipment against flooding. Extra medical and food supplies, as well as backup power generators and oxygen tanks, should be obtained in case of emergency.

Mobile units must also be set up to provide medical attention to bed-ridden patients or the elderly who cannot travel to hospital. The Ministry of Public Health has also prepared 400,000 first aid kits for the general public, should hospitals become inaccessible.

People have also been warned to stay away from large trees and street signs, which could be knocked over in the storm. Those in need of medical assistance can call the 24-hour hotline 1669.


Employment centers facilitate compliance with foreign labor decree

TRAT,(NNT) - Various agencies under the Ministry of Labor have established a center in Trat province to facilitate the registration of undocumented foreign workers.

The center was established at the indoor sports stadium by the Provincial Department of Employment, Department of Skill Development, Department of Labor, Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, and the Social Security Office.

The center's opening day saw many employers arriving to register their foreign staff, who did not possess identification cards or work permits. The center is open every day from July 24th to August 7th and offers counseling and data-processing services, before it enters its screening phase from August 8th to September 6th.

The 2017 royal decree on foreign labor management stipulates penalties for employment violations, roiling the private sector. The National Council for Peace and Order has therefore called for policies to better facilitate compliance with the new law.

Employment centers across the country are meant to service businesses who employ undocumented Cambodian, Laos, and Myanmar nationals.


Update July 24, 2017

IEAT opens new cargo ship port in Maptaphut

RAYONG,(NNT) – The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has opened a new cargo shipping dock at the Maptaphut Industrial Port, to support Thailand in its role as ASEAN's naval cargo hub targeting the key industries of petrochemical, chemical, fertilizers, and steel manufacturing.

IEAT Vice Governor Vitoon Uthim has presided over the opening of a new cargo dock in Maptaphut Industrial Port, Rayong, welcoming a Japanese cargo ship docking at the port for the first time.

The new cargo dock, called MIT, will facilitate goods imports and exports, boosting developments in the country, specifically in the Eastern Economic Corridor, improving Thailand's logistics infrastructure to become the logistics hub of ASEAN.

MIT will help facilitate goods transport via the eastern seaboard worth a volume of 7 million tons annually, relieving congestion at Maptaphut Industrial Port.

Maptaphut Industrial Port is now serving the shipping of liquids and gas, steel products, chemical fertilizers, as well as goods in the sodium carbonate industry.


Thailand to send back trafficking victims, assist on migration to third country

BANGKOK,(NNT) – Thailand has prioritized on human trafficking cases involving Rohingya people in accordance to human rights principles, and is set to return trafficking victims to their country of origin, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affair's Director-General of the Department of Information Busadee Santipitaks has addressed the return of Rohingya people involved in human trafficking cases back to their country of origin, saying that the Thai government has been providing protection to the victims and has provided them with healthcare, occupation opportunities, and is working to assist their return home or their migration to a third country.

She has said trafficking victims are legally allowed to stay in Thailand for 2 years after the conclusion of case proceedings, according to the Cabinet's resolution on 13 December 2017.

The Thai government has been working with the country of origin to send back trafficking victims who chose to return, and has been collaborating with the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugee (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) for victims who wishes to migrate to a third country.

Thailand has also provided 245 translators to assist the victims including people from Myanmar, Rohingya, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The Thai government has also given special priority to the protection of child trafficking victims by providing special training to related officials.


100 service centers for undocumented migrant workers to open

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Ministry of Labour will be opening service centers nationwide for undocumented migrant workers today at 100 locations nationwide, says official.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour (MOL) Puntrik Smiti has revealed the MOL will be launching 100 service centers nationwide to facilitate employers experiencing problems with undocumented migrant workers. The centers will facilitate the legal technicalities regarding their migrant workers during the grace period, after the enactment of the new migrant workers management law.

The centers will operate daily from 24 July - 7 August 2017, and will focus only on assisting existing employees, not newly employed employees after the effective date of the law. The process will require relevant documents and forms to be submitted to the center during 24 July - 7 August 2017. The documents can be submitted by any person who will receive back a receipt.

Employers and employees will then be required to meet with officials during 8 August - 9 September 2017 to verify their relations.

Employees will then need to obtain their Certification of Identity (CI) document at the One Stop Service Center where officials from Myanmar and Cambodia will be providing the service, while Lao nationals are required to travel back to obtain their passport before returning to Thailand to obtain work visas and permit.

Employers can also opt to send documents online. The center is aimed to provide a continuous service at the rate of 15 minutes per person.

Forums are available on www.doe.go.th or www.doe.go.th/alien from which users can download and fill out in advance. For more information, please call 1694.


Update July 22 - 23, 2017

Thailand welcomes new Turkish Airlines flights to Phuket

Mrs. Pataraporn Sithivanich (4th from left), TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East Region; H.E. Mrs. Evren Dagdelen Akgn (3rd from left), Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Thailand; and Mr. Bilal Eksi (5th from left), Deputy Chairman and CEO of the Turkish Airlines as well as representatives from leading Thai and Turkish tourism organisations.

Phuket,–The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to welcome the launch of new Turkish Airlines flights to Phuket in Southern Thailand.

Phuket, one of the world’s best known beach destinations with a number of award-winning beaches voted for by tourists, will host the airline’s four direct flights per week from Istanbul.

Mrs. Pataraporn Sithivanich, TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East Region said, “This new Istanbul-Phuket service is part of the collaboration between TAT and Turkish Airlines to meet the growing demand for travel to Thailand from holiday-makers from Turkey, Europe and Latin America. In addition, 2018 marks 60 years of Thai-Turkish relations, and TAT is planning to organise cultural and tourism activities in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Thailand.”

Turkish Airlines inaugurated its Istanbul-Phuket route on 17 July with the first flight carrying 210 passengers, including 20 members of the media from Turkey. The journalists and writers also got the chance to visit important attractions in Phuket and nearby provinces, including Phuket Old Town, Wat Chalong, Siam Niramit Phuket and James Bond Island.

The airline plans to increase the frequency of the Istanbul-Phuket route from four times per week to a daily flight in the upcoming winter season, to cater to the higher demand for Thailand. Phuket is Turkish Airlines’ 300th destination. The airline began a direct Istanbul-Bangkok service in 1989 and now operates 14 flights per week.

Mrs. Pataraporn said, “Since 2012, Turkish nationals entering Thailand have been able to apply for a visa-on-arrival and this has led to many more people discovering Amazing Thailand. We know this new Turkish Airlines’ direct Istanbul-Phuket will ensure that more visitors enjoy the delights and unique culture of the southern region of Thailand.”

Turkey is one of Thailand’s important emerging tourist markets. In 2016, Thailand welcomed 74,568 visitors from Turkey, representing an increase of 17.97 per cent over 2015. This year, from January – May, there were 35,605 Turkish travellers to Thailand, up 2.66 per cent year-on-year.

The majority of Turkish travellers visit Thailand for a holiday, especially during November-January. Top Thai destinations among Turkish tourists are beaches and islands; such as, Pattaya and Phuket.


'Darknet' suspect's flashy cars raised eyebrows in Thailand

One of properties of AlphaBay founder Alexandre Cazes is seen in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

By Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — The neighbors had their suspicions.

The young Canadian accused of masterminding the world's leading "darknet" internet marketplace lived a seemingly quiet life for more than a year with his Thai girlfriend in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangkok.
But the flashy cars he drove stood out.

There was the nearly $1 million, metallic gray Lamborghini. There was the Porsche, and then the Mini Cooper for his girlfriend. All in an area where people drive pickup trucks and children tool around on plastic tricycles.

The neighbors thought 25-year-old Alexandre Cazes worked in the hotel business. But according to the U.S. Justice Department, he was the mastermind of AlphaBay, an internet marketplace that traded in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods.

By the time authorities closed in on July 5, Cazes had amassed a $23 million fortune as the site's creator and administrator, court documents show.

On Thursday, U.S. Justice Department officials gave details of the global police operation that brought down Cazes, who authorities say hanged himself in his Thai jail cell a week after his arrest, and dealt a serious blow to illicit internet commerce.

Cazes' stepmother Kathy Gauthier expressed surprise at the allegations, saying "we do not understand how he could have been the person described by the FBI, that's just not his personality!"

In a private Facebook message to The Associated Press, Gauthier wrote: "Alexandre was always a good boy without any kind of trouble in his past. He was peaceful and anti-drugs. We always thought his wealth came from investments in cryptocurrency, not from a 'Darkmarket (sic).'"

She was apparently referring to "darknet."

She continued: "He was raised in a good home by good parents, but now we are exhausted and simply want to accept the situation. Last week my spouse spoke to the media about who Alexandre really was, and our opinion hasn't changed. Now we just want to move forward. And if what the FBI says is completely true, well, that's not the Alexandre Cazes that we knew. but we would love him still, and forgive him."

Interviews with Cazes' neighbors paint a picture of a young man who displayed flashes of ostentation but otherwise seemed unassuming.

"He was with his girlfriend," said a neighbor, Hassanupong Pootrakulchote. "Around New Year's or Christmas I saw some of his friends come over and they would have a little party. There were Thai people, some of them were his girlfriend's relatives ... Other than that it's mostly quiet, nothing flashy or anything."

Nothing except those expensive cars, which were completely out of place in the neighborhood where homes cost less than $120,000.

"Why does he have a Lamborghini? Why does he have a Porsche or Mini Cooper?" Hassanupong said. "There are recent news reports about people laundering money and that sort of thing. But like I said, I thought he was in the hotel business."

Soon enough, talk in the neighborhood was that Cazes was ready to improve his standard of living.

At the time of his arrest, he was building a palatial home about 20 minutes away in a far more upscale area. The price tag? More than $1.1 million.

According to court documents, he also owned a luxury villa on the edge of a cliff in the holiday destination of Phuket and a $400,000 villa in Antigua.

Much of Cazes' fortune was in digital currencies, the court documents show. He bought real estate and luxury cars, including the $900,000 Lamborghini, and pursued "economic citizenship" in Liechtenstein, Cyprus and Thailand.

He used what he claimed was a web design company, EBX Technologies, as a front, the indictment said.

But his life in the Bangkok suburbs appeared stable, neighbors said.

One neighbor, who asked not to be named because the case involves crime, said Cazes rarely left the house before noon. She said she got her first good look at him one day when he was outside, trying to photograph a monitor lizard that had crawled out of a deserted field nearby.

"We smiled at each other, that's it," she said.

Darknet websites have thrived since the 2011 appearance of the Silk Road bazaar, which was taken down two years later. Merchants and buyers keep their identities secret by using encrypted communications and anonymity-providing tools such as the Tor browser. The darknet itself is only accessible through such specialized apps.

Cazes' own carelessness apparently tripped him up — not the underlying security technology AlphaBay used.

According to the indictment, he accidentally broadcast his personal Hotmail address in welcome messages sent to new users. And when he was tracked down and arrested in Thailand, Cazes was logged into the AlphaBay website as its administrator, allowing investigators access to passwords and other information, it says.

Cazes also used the same personal email address — "[email protected] — on a PayPal account.

Associated Press writer Patrick Lejtenyi in Montreal, Canada, contributed to this report.


Efforts to suppress zero-dollar tours

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Land Transport Department (DLT) has cooperated with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) to suppress zero-dollar tours.

DLT Director General Sanit Phromwong disclosed that the DLT had cooperated with relevant agencies, including military units, the tourist police, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), the Tourism Business Department, the Revenue Department and local administrative organizations to clamp down on zero-dollar tour operators by regularly inspecting vehicles suspected to be illegal tour operators.

The DLT Director-General added that the DLT has prepared a plan for inspecting and impounding unregistered buses, which will be implemented through the cooperation of the military and police officers.

Using unregistered buses to transport tour groups is an offense under the Land Transport Act 1979, violators face a fine of 5,000 baht per offense. 1,298 offenses were recorded between 1 October 2016 - 19 July 2017.

The DLT will also ask the Royal Thai Police and the Metropolitan Police Bureau to strictly inspect and impound unregistered buses that are used for transporting tour groups.


Update July 21, 2017

Police warn against posting pictures advocating alcohol consumption

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Royal Thai Police and the Department of Disease Control have reported a decline in arrests related to illegal alcohol sales during Asalha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent, while reminding that those posting pictures on social media advocating alcohol consumption are subject to a one-year prison sentence and a fine no more than 500,000 baht.

Pol Gen Weerachai Songmetta, Chairman of the subcommittee on preventing and suppressing crimes under the 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, revealed that his task force has inspected 151 stores in six provinces and found 14 violations.

Those who post pictures or messages on social media deemed to advocate the consumption of alcohol are subject to no more than one year in prison and a fine no more than 500,000 baht. Officials have already pressed charges against five celebrities.


11 new centers for reporting migrant workers in Bangkok

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Labor disclosed that 11 centers for reporting migrant worker employment in Bangkok will expand their service coverage to all areas from July 24th to August 7th. Employers can download employment request forms from the Department of Employment website.

Director General of the Department of Employment Waranon Peetiwan disclosed that the Ministry of Labor is ready to open 11 centers for reporting migrant worker employment in Bangkok as follows:

1) Ministry of Labor, Mitmaitri Road, Din Daeng District
2) IT Square, Chaengwattana Road, Lak Si District
3) Southern Bus Terminal, 2nd floor, Boromarajonani Road, Taling Chan District
4) Thanya Park, Srinakarin Road, Suan Luang District
5) Bang Khun Thian Sports Center, Thonburi Community Housing 3, Rama 2 Road, Soi 62, Bang Khun Thian District
6) Ramindra Sports Park, Ramindra road, Soi 5, Bang Khen district
7) Army Training Command Department near Samsen Railway Station, Nakhonchaisri Road, Dusit District
8) Wang Nanthautthayan Club Building (Royal Thai Navy), Issaraphap Road, Bangkok Noi District
9) Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi University Auditorium, Prachaphatthana Road, Latkrabang District
10) Sampheng 2 Park (Phase 3), Kalapaphruek Road, Bang Khae District
11) Labor Safety Division, Boromarajonani Road, Talingchan District, opposite Taling Chan Police Station

The department head added that every center will have 30 staff members to process employment request forms. The employers can download the online form or fill out the form at the center. The employment request forms can be downloaded from the department website www.doe.go.th or www.doe.go.th/alien.

Employers have to bring an identification card or certificate proving registration of juristic person, three 2" portrait photos of the workers, and employment request forms. The centers will be open for only 15 days from July 24th to August 7th.

Waranon expressed confidence that the department will provide the fastest and most convenient public services and that it will take no more than 15 minutes per person. For more information, please call the hotline 1694.


Transport Ministry discusses dual-track railway from Map Kabao to Jira

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Transport has scheduled a meeting with representatives of Nakhon Ratchasima province to conclude the construction plans for the dual-track railway from Map Kabao to Jira on 25 July.

Mr. Anon Leungboriboon, Acting Governor of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) disclosed the results of the meeting on the Map Kabao – Jira junction dual-track railway construction project over a distance of 136 kilometers within a 24,180 million baht budget.

Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Wichien Chantharanothai has led the local private sector to discuss obstacles for the construction plan with the Ministry of Transport and relevant agencies, as the ground-level railway will run through the city of Muang Nakhon Ratchasima district, separating the community in two and could affect the traditional livelihood of the communities.

Nakhon Ratchasima wants the SRT to elevate the railway at Jira station to allow people to travel normally, but the SRT has instead proposed a plan construct a crossing bridge, as design alterations will require another Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted.

The Ministry of Transport and Nakhon Ratchasima has agreed to send representatives to discuss the issue again on 25 July in order to reach a conclusion.


Update July 20, 2017

From Palace Kitchens to Today's Eateries exhibition open in Bangkok

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The King Prajadhipok Museum in the capital is organizing an exhibition showcasing the history of Thai food.

The exhibition, entitled "From Palace Kitchens to Today's Eateries", tells stories of the culture of palace dishes, which were prepared for both taste and visual appeal.

According to the organizer, local food underwent a transformation from 1883 - 1941, when Thailand was heavily exposed to foreign cultures. The Bureau of the Royal Household played an important part in making palace dishes even more distinguished.

Palace dishes became known to the public after 1932, when some of the cook staff in the royal kitchens quit their positions and started their own businesses.

Those interested in the culture, history and art of cooking royal dishes are invited to visit the exhibition from now until end of November.


All provinces getting ready for Royal Cremation

BANGKOK,(NNT) - The Ministry of Interior is preparing all provinces for the Royal Cremation of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. All ceremony venues nationwide are expected to accommodate more than 13 million people.

Minister of Interior Gen. Anupong Paochinda on Wednesday attended a meeting with executives of the ministry to acknowledge the progress of the preparations for the Royal Cremation in the regional provinces. There will be 878 booths in various places—most of which temples—where people can place funeral wood flowers. The booths will be designed by the Fine Arts Department and constructed for around one month. The construction is expected to begin soon.

According to the Community Development Department, 376 from 878 bouquets of funeral wood flowers have been made by provincial and district administrations and more than 19.4 million flower have been made by the general public. More than 36.8 million flowers are expected to be made by 20 September.

As for Bangkok, 4.2 million flowers have been made. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is making preparations for processions and service booths to facilitate the public.

At the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, mourners from various places, including Phang Nga, Rayong and Chaiyaphume have continued to pay respects before the body of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej to show their deep loyalty and gratefulness for him.


Fisheries Department warns of blackchin tilapia scourge in Samut Songkhram

SAMUT SONGKHRAM,(NNT) – The Department of Fisheries has warned that an infestation of Blackchin Tilapia in Samut Songkram province may be threatening its local fish populations and the eco-system, urging local fishermen to eradicate the alien and stop it from spreading.

Director of Fresh Water Fish Research and Development for the Department of Fisheries Suthichai Rititham made known that Blackchin Tilapia most recently found their way into shrimp farms and have so far devastated the stocks. The fish were brought to Thailand from Africa for breeding into a new marketable species but failed to catch on.

The fish can grow to 8-10 centimeters in length and feed on smaller marine creatures. They naturally reproduce at an accelerated rate.

The department has begun to fight back against the infestation by releasing carnivorous cat fish into waterways to control the population of the tilapia but has urged shrimp farmers who find the fish to eradicate them and to filter any water they inhabited.


Update July 19, 2017

Public pays respect to memory of Princess Mother

CHIANG RAI,(NNT) – Some 3,000 people have attended the memorial service of Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, commemorating the 22nd anniversary of her passing.

The Governor of Chiang Rai province led some 3,000 people from local and ethnic communities to attend a memorial service honoring Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother, on July 18th, Princess Srinagarindra Memorial Day.

The wreath-laying ceremony and memorial service were performed according to Lanna customs. The governor then deliver his remarks in tribute to the Princess Mother before the Princess Srinagarindra Monument at Mae Fah Luang Art and Culture Park in Chiang Rai.

Other charity activities took place, including blood drives, medical checkups, and a tree-planting activity. Mae Fah Luang Foundation has also opened Doi Tung Royal Villa and its gardens to the general public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free of charge.


Deity sculptures for royal crematorium 80% complete

NAKHON PATHOM,(NNT) – The Office of Traditional Arts has revealed that the sculptures for the royal crematorium are now 80 percent complete.

Head of Sculpting at the Office of Traditional Arts Prosobsook Ratmai reported that it has made good progress on the sculptures, which are part of the royal crematorium of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. They include two fiberglass Ganesha sculptures, for which the basic form has been finished, as well as Indra and Shiva sculptures, which are now 80 percent complete.

The artisans working on the deity sculptures use a combination of traditional methods and modern techniques, such as fiberglass molding.

Charoen Hancharoen, an experienced craftsman working on the sculptures, said the Garuda sculptures require further detailing and are expected to be finished by the end of the month.


Thailand to host Air Race 1 World Cup in November

CHONBURI,(NNT) - Chonburi province is gearing up to host Air Race 1 World Cup Thailand 2017, which will be held from November 17th- 19th this year.

The Deputy Governor of Chonburi presided over a meeting with relevant officials at the Institute of Physical Education, Chonburi campus. Authorities discussed organizing the event at Utapao International Airport and Thailand's readiness as a host country.

According to the deputy governor, Thailand is the first country in Asia to have been selected to host the Air Race 1 World Cup, which also marks the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN and the ASEAN International Fleet Review 2017.

There will be 16 teams and 16 planes competing in Air Race 1 World Cup Thailand 2017. Each plane will be required to complete eight laps on a five-kilometer route in less than one minute.
The planes will have to fly at the speed of 450 kilometers per hour in order to complete the race. Air Race 1 is the world’s fastest motor sport and has been held for 70 years.


Update July 18, 2017

TAT’s marketing plan 2018 to heighten Thailand as a preferred destination

H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (centre), Minister of Tourism and Sports; Mr. Kalin Sarasin (centre, right); Chairman of the Board of TAT; and Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (centre, left), TAT Governor, as well as TAT Executives and leading Thai tourism industry players at the press conference to announce TAT’s marketing plan 2018.

Bangkok,– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently held the annual TAT Action Plan for 2018 meeting, which covers both international and domestic tourism.

TAT’s marketing plan 2018 has been designed to serve the purpose of generating revenue and increase visitor arrivals, promote new ideas and follow the development agenda of Thailand 4.0 using the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, as well as Inclusive Tourism that maintains a balance between the economy, society and the environment.

All the strategies are in line with the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan and 2nd National Tourism Development Plan.

As 2017 is considered as a challenging year, TAT has been putting their best efforts on tourism marketing in order to stimulate the country’s economy. Many activities; such as, Village to the World, Creative Thailand and The Link have been created to highlight the Thai Local Experience. This has proven successful as the number of potential visitors and first-time visitors has increased significantly. Therefore, TAT will keep working on this concept for its action plan in 2018.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “TAT will use tourism to promote sustainable development with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination among international visitors.”

To be targeted over the 12-month period of the fiscal year 2018, beginning October 2017, the niche-market customer segments were finalised at the annual TAT Action Plan meeting held between 11-14 July, 2017.

For the international marketing plan strategy, TAT has segmented target customers worldwide ranging from first-timers to repeaters, senior citizens to sports enthusiasts. TAT will also emphasise on niche markets including, Weddings and Honeymoons, and Ladies, as well as continue to create a brand image as a high-end and Luxury Travel destination.

Gastronomy Tourism will be focussed on more, which is considered as an important part of the travel through local experiences. It is also one of the tools to boost the development of the country’s economy by adding value to products and services that are based on the unique Thai culture and ways of life. Some of the highlighted activities are the opening of the Michelin Guidebook Bangkok and Thailand will host the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

The communication strategies for the international market will continue to use “Amazing Thailand”, which has been a popular and well-recognised marketing slogan for nearly 20 years. TAT will still use “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand”.

In 2018, TAT will change its marketing angle slightly with a new concept of “Open to the New Shades of Thailand”. The concept will deepen the Unique Thai Local Experience to a Million Shades of Thailand. This will give more depth to the presentation of Thailand’s tourism, grow the business for grassroots tourism sector players, and enhance the country’s image as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further.

For the strategy for the domestic market, TAT will focus on increasing the travel frequency of potential groups (Silver Age, Millennials, Families, Gen-Y, Multi-Generation, and Ladies), decongest popular areas, promote travel during weekdays, strengthen society and preserve the environment.

The domestic marketing campaign in 2018, will further enhance the slogan, “Unique Thai Local Experience”. The concept will promote tourism and create value among the Thai people to persuade them to enjoy a trip in Thailand and go deeper in pursuit of unforgettable experiences.

Some examples of new initiatives for domestic marketing by TAT include creating awareness of waste management during local festivals, promoting creative gastronomy, and building tourism networks to be environmentally conscious.

Mr. Yuthasak said, “Clearly the age of mass-marketing is over. The future lies in sharply focussed marketing campaigns, which can deliver measurable results. These will help us maintain a strong brand presence, improve the efficiency of our marketing spend, address the seasonality factor, decongest popular destinations and establish closer cooperation with potential partners that include many industry businesses and local communities who can contribute to the success of our objectives.”

The number of visitors from January – June 2017, reached 17 million creating income of 876 billion Baht in which the China market was the first generator followed by Russia and Malaysia. Realising the importance that tourism has for the country’s economy, the Royal Thai Government has set a growth of not less than 8 per cent increase in tourism revenue for 2018.


Transport Ministry holds maritime emergency drill off Samui Island

SURAT THANI,(NNT) – The Ministry of Transport has held a rescue drill for boats off Samui Island, simulating a fire aboard a sea vessel to trial evacuation of passengers.

The Ministry of Transport’s Marine Department has worked jointly with Surat Thani provincial officials and other public and private agencies to stage the official 2017 maritime rescue drill off Samui Island.

This year’s training involved a fire on a ferry boat and included the use of helicopters, speed boats and jet skis, all with the purpose of helping to evacuate passengers from the ferry.

Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith observed the drill and said it went off in an orderly fashion. He elaborated the drill was to practice communication and integration during an emergency and adherence to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards. IMO mandates that the state and relevant private agencies are able to work hand in hand in times of emergency and are effective in a set zone surrounding off shore.


4 patients infected with meningococcal disease found in southern region

 

YALA,(NNT) - The Provincial Public Health Office of Yala has disclosed that four patients infected with meningococcal disease have been identified in the southern region during the first half of the year.

Yala Provincial Public Health Office Chief Songkran Maichum said that the meningococcal disease can be found in people of all sexes and ages, but more commonly found in children than adults, especially children aged under 5.

The disease is transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions. Close and prolonged contact such as sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters with an infected person causes the disease to spread.

Maintaining healthy habits such as getting plenty of rest, consuming healthy food and keeping a distance from infected patients can help prevent the disease from spreading.

Meningitis symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiffness in the neck. There are often other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental status. Sometimes the symptoms appear immediately or gradually over several days. Typically, symptoms usually develop within three to seven days after infection. Later symptoms of bacterial meningitis can be very serious. For this reason, anyone who thinks they may be infected with the disease should seek immediate medical attention. For more information, please call 1422.


Update July 17, 2017

Military training security volunteers for cremation ceremony

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Thai military has hosted a special training course for volunteers who will facilitate crowd control and safety on the occasion of the royal cremation ceremony on October 26th.

Major General Santipong Thampiya, Commander of the Internal Security Operations Command First Division, chaired the launch of the special training seminar organized for the second batch of security volunteers numbering 710 persons.

The training took place at Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus.

Major General Santipong said public safety will be the military’s number 1 priority on the day of the cremation, given the number of mourners expected to take part in the ceremony. With the help of the volunteers, security operations will be efficiently handled.

The training gave volunteers demonstrations on how to spot suspicious objects and what to do in different emergency situations.


Overflowing Chao Phraya River floods communities in Chai Nat

CHAI NAT, (NNT) – Water that overflowed from the Chao Phraya River has swept through low-lying areas in Chai Nat province.

The thunder storms that hit Thailand recently, prompted officials at the Chao Phraya Dam to discharge 1,250 cubic meters of water per second into the main river, causing the flooding of communities in the Sapphaya district of Chai Nat which is situated on nearby lowland. The Royal Irrigation Department said there is a possibility that the amount of water released from the dam will be raised to 1,500 cubic meters per second on July 19th which is when water from the northern region arrives in the dam.

Meanwhile, in Uthai Thani, thousands of rice plantations have been damaged by floodwater triggered by continuous heavy rainfall. Villages and communities in the capital district are also suffering from the inundation. The level of floodwater is measured at 20-40 centimeters.

In Ang Thong province, police officers and government officials are traveling through inundated areas to offer assistance to those in need.


No policy to allow foreigners to work as tour guides in Thailand

BANGKOK,(NNT) – The Prime Minister has stressed the government's position to eliminate illegal foreign tour guides, and will work towards the creation of multilingual Thai tour guides to fulfill international tourism demands.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had said regarding the issue where the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand is preparing to submit a complaint to the government to solve the issue of illegal foreign tour guides and tour operators which only lead tourists to purchase products from their affiliated shops, that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has been instructed to handle this issue.

He has said tour guides are a protected profession that only Thais are allowed to perform according to the law, and that the related agencies have been working with tour guides and travel agencies to address this issue.

The Prime Minister has however accepted that Thailand is in shortage of tour guides in stark contrast to the increasing number of foreign visitors each year.

As of 30 June 2017, Thailand has 70,655 registered tour guides, 46,880 are categorized as general guides, while 19,154 are area-specific guides. Most tour guides are proficient in English, followed by Chinese and Japanese.

The Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to work with the Ministry of Education to plan the promotion of tour guide training in order to create more tour guides, and improve the existing guides' language proficiency, according to demands.

He has then reassured that the government is working to identify any illegal tours which only bring tourists to purchase items at their affiliated shops, and is working with Chinese authorities to eradicate the zero-dollar tour through strict verification protocols..
 


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Overflowing Chao Phraya River floods communities in Chai Nat

No policy to allow foreigners to work as tour guides in Thailand

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