Roundup of Thailand news with AJW

06 Jul 2012  595 | World Travel Fairs

BANGKOK BRIEF: After fire, Bangkok Governor believes refineries should move from Bangkok. House Speaker Somsak transcript reveals discussion with Thaksin.

WORLD SUMMARY: US apologizes, Pakistan to reopen Afghan border. Iran threatens US, Israel with missile attacks. "God particle" Higgs boson found, causes mass, weight.

MYANMAR DEEP SEA PORT: The main local partner in the Dawei port and industrial complex in Myanmar said yesterday he was pulling out of the project, adding to doubts about its viability.

THAI POLITICS: The Pheu Thai Party's spokesman has confirmed that Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranont said he had discussed with "a person far away" the charter amendment and reconciliation bills in a secretly-taped audio recording.

Mr. Somsak was heard in the recording, broadcast on Tuesday on satellite channel Blue Sky, addressing his supporters in Phetchabun at a private meeting.

In the audio clip, Mr. Somsak allegedly said he had talked the "person far away" into agreeing not to push for debate on the controversial reconciliation bill in parliament to avoid public opposition.

TODAY: Weather 33C, Hot Wet Cloudy, Euro:US 1.2528 Euro:Baht 39.46 SET Index: 1191


TAT EUROPE: The EU crisis will depress some European tourist markets this year, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The financial woes will lead to growth in European tourist arrivals of only 5 percent to 5.12 million this year, half of last year's 10 percent growth rate, said Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the Deputy Governor for international marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.

She said if the debt crisis grows worse and spreads to more countries, then the 5 percent forecast may be rosy.

"We have instructed our European offices to keep a close watch on the problem and submit weekly reports to Bangkok," said Ms. Juthaporn.

Key risk markets are Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, although together they contributed only 7 percent of European tourist arrivals last year.

"The euro crisis has hit spending by middle- and low-income European tourists, so we must prepare to shift our focus to the high-end segment. Potential markets are Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Russia," said Ms. Juthaporn.

Apart from the EU-debt crisis, the TAT is also concerned about the new air passenger duty imposed by the UK.

Passengers flying from that country to Thailand are levied an extra 82 (4,000 baht) in economy class and 164 in business class.

It is focusing on new markets for Generations X and Y to boost the number of first-time visitors.

Today 60 percent of European arrivals are repeat tourists, and the TAT will highlight the southern beach destinations of Krabi and Trang in order to maintain this market.

Joint-promotion charter flights will ply the route from Manchester, England, to Phuket and from new destinations in Eastern Europe and Siberia to Bangkok during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

More meetings and conferences from new markets such as Brazil will be organized here.

Yesterday, the TAT introduced Lifestyle Thailand, a new Smartphone app aimed at attracting the young generation with 8 unique tourism experiences.

Discounts of 20-50 percent are being offered by 300 hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

The TAT expects the app will be downloaded 50,000 times in the next 3 months.

BURMA-BKK RAIL LINK: Burma's Railways Minister Aung Min has confirmed plans to begin construction later this year of a railway linking Rangoon and Bangkok along the route of the notorious ''Death Railway'' - built by Japanese-held prisoners of war during the Second World War.

AIRPORT: Don Muang Airport, Bangkok's second airport, will reopen for commercial aviation on August 1, not on October 1 as earlier planned, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said.

MUGABE: Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has flown to Singapore for what his aides insist is a routine medical check-up. In April, speculation was rife that the 88-year-old was close to death when he reportedly went to Singapore for cancer treatment. A US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year claimed Mr. Mugabe had advanced prostate cancer.

Sourced: eturbonews