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Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand’s ASQ

Thaiger

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Minor International’s outspoken Chairman, Bill Heinecke, has penned an open letter to Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul. The thrust of the letter is that the current ASQ and general quarantine requirements and restrictions, is making any recovery of the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Minor hotels have already serviced 2,500 guest as part of the Thai government’s Alternative State Quarantine program. He calls on Thailand’s health ministry to consider an easing of restrictions, showing the results of 3 months involvement in the ASQ program. The letter, in full…Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger Minor International Chairman calls for major overhaul of Thailand's ASQ | News by Thaiger

 

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    While I do agree the STV process desperately need streamlining, it needs more than just that. It’s much too costly, and because of the all the require pre payments it’s much too risky. No doubt cutting the quarantine will increase the numbers, the question is by how much? Thai tourist revenue is built on the back of the 2-4 week tourist. Say I get 30 days of vacation, I lose 3-4 just traveling. Now you want me to quarantine for 7 more days (which loses you 8 days of vacation time). I start with 30 days lose 4 and another 8 and now only have 18 days left. I’ve lost 40% of my vacation days and had to pay through the nose for the privilege. Not a great deal. Of course someone with only 2-3 weeks of vacation it’s a non-starter. Personally I don’t see cutting the quarantine to 7 days making a huge difference. Especially not when countries like Singapore and Hong Kong starting to drop their quarantine all together.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      Agreed, EdwardV.

      The only people who would seem to gain from this are Minor International, and those like them. It would make a considerable difference to their balance sheet, particularly “relaxing activities allowed for quarantine guests” which would massively increase the risk of transmission but give them an equally massive boost in income from a captive audience, but none whatsoever to the majority of those in the rest of the tourist industry who wouldn’t see any change or benefit at all.

      Way beyond selfish.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:19 pm

        No it is not. This chairman of Minor international writes sense, which is more than you do.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 11:05 pm

        No it is not. It is quite clear that these suggestions would benefit Thailand.
        There you go dictating what is right and wrong due to you own selfish considerations.
        To any that do not know it, this poster is in Thailand and one of the few on this forum who wants to keep foreigners out.
        Any easing of restrictions to allow foreigners in, he is against them.
        Recently a survey on this forum revealed that 701 votes were for open the borders now.
        51 votes were for keep the borders closed with restrictions.
        This I John then disputed the findings and claimed they were wrong and statistically many more persons wanted the borders closed with restrictions.
        If you are an expat wanting to come back to your family and property in Thailand, this poster is against it.

        • Avatar

          bobjenkins

          Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 3:46 pm

          Well actually Toby, while I’m not a follower of Isaan John, these surveys get released all the time on this website and I’ve never seen one that was so biased towards opening the borders, perhaps you can share the link to that one down below. If its a survey on this forum it hardly matters. its the Thai surveys made in Bangkok that matter as those are the ones the Thai government is looking at. Not a lot of expats with made up names here.

          Edward the first commenter is correct about your average working western tourist the most they can scrape together is generally 3 weeks paid vacation to go to somewhere. So quarantine at all doesn’t make sense to them. How much time off work do you think the average Chinese or Japanese person gets for a holiday. Unless its a sabbatical, it can’t be much more. The Japanese are famous for being hard workers.

          However Minor international are not to blame for this debacle either its the Thai government who have set up all these ASQ and allowed them to set their prices. In this I have to agree with Isaan J. The ASQ’s are charging to much money and would love more customers.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    More proof of the Thai government unreasonable hysteria and measures to prevent this virus entering Thailand.
    2500 guests – 3 test positive.
    0.12 percent. not even 1.00 percent.
    Is it worth bankrupting the country due to this small risk?
    The persons that catch this virus have less than .01 percent of dying from it.
    Most of those are fat, old, and have pre-existing medical conditions. Source: Our world in data.
    Let the people that are frightened of it quarantine, don’t impose quarantine on those that are willing to take the risk.

  3. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Courageous statement from a man whose group survival is on the line. I have been through the Q2 financial statement of his group and there is very little to cheer when you go through the figures! Many Thai groups are leveraged (high debt versus equity) because Thai interest rates are high and capital is rare. His group is likely one of the best… but can certainly not afford to reach October 2021 without an extensive reopening! This is best of breed, imagine for the rest of the tourism industry…

    • Avatar

      Amanda

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, Mike despite all the privileges and off the table dealings he has his group is still stumbling. I can’t imagine how other hospitality groups or independent hotels are doing. It must be a pain because in order to be part of ASQ is not cheap on the hotel resources. I feel that this coming protest is going to be really serious because the economic situation is affecting all level of society unlike the previous protests where it targeted only grassroots to middle class. Now it’s spreading like wildfire through all classes except the really privileged class with thick saving.

  4. Avatar

    Paulnou

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    everyone say to a new move, it is better than nothing !!! 7 days quarantine may bring 3 to 5 times more than the ones of 14 days MUST COME for various personal reasons but still no tourists, more past investors, residents or new retirees … so what ? Thai tourist industry Economy is dead now and will take years to come back on even 2 millions visitors a month 30% less than before. Only big chains like Minor will resist with the highly performance of break even results, smallest resorts as well due not much running charges could survive, but probably 50% of SME ones will close forever together with a couple of millions staff losing jobs. Those staffs will hardly find new jobs due the general down economy in every sector.
    Pray for Thailand !!! And Dismiss quickly the inept responsibles for such mess

  5. Avatar

    Peter Holland

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Whatever Thailand does there are some really protective measures:
    The duration of a minimum period stay of 90 days in effect means the targets are the retirees and they predominantly are very cautious themselves. They don’t visit super spreader events;
    The duration of a minimum of 90 days also means, that most of these elderlies are going to spend real money and they will not travel all over the place;
    A COVID-19 test in their country and again on arrival should be sufficient. A mandatory app or bracelet to track them, should make it easy to contact them if they have been in contact with an infected person.

    Some remarks on the not exactly smooth process so far:
    If travelers have to join a chartered flight it probably means they cannot join a non-stop flight to Thailand hence added risks;
    If they have a health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$ 100,000 there is no added value in taking another one on top of it with a Thai insurance company.

    I am one of these elderly snowbirds and have visited the Kingdom for more than 40 years, staying in the best hotels. Since August I am in contact with the Longstay Company and so far I didn’t get any further than waiting for a criminal record check. I feel I get closer to aborting the process, which would mean a loss of minimal 1,500,000 Baht for the Thai economy (90 days)

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      “A COVID-19 test in their country and again on arrival should be sufficient. A mandatory app or bracelet to track them, should make it easy to contact them if they have been in contact with an infected person.”

      But it’s not about “them” – it’s about those they come into contact with, not the other way round!

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 5:37 pm

        He’s actually a naturalised Thai, so can’t be “kicked out”.

        He had some credibility and my sympathy until he went first for letting “high net worth” individuals in with no quarantine at all, then went down the ‘quarantine them in my hotels, but let them use my “spa and wellness and food and beverage” facilities route.

        Odd that he’s been rather less vocal about the restrictions in Spain, where he has bigger investments and is losing rather more … or maybe not.

      • Avatar

        Noneya Bidnizz

        Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:12 pm

        John , You should take your fearful and racist backside out to your Khao paddy and play with your Kwaii — It is All too clear that you care nothing about those who are suffering BADLY in these times ,only about your miss-informed SELF — You Do Not care about Thailand or Her Beautiful and Kind People , Only Yourself I think , THOUSANDS of Good People lose their Businesses and Jobs , Many more WILL continue to do so in the NEAR Future , Families are Kept apart , Many will lose their Homes / Cars ETC ETC , Suicide and Crime rates are climbing FAST , Maybe you should not go play with your Kwaii , Mung Bpen Kwaii ! —

        I Pray For Thailand Every Day !!!

  6. Avatar

    RR

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Useless, Anutin has no brain, only concrete insude thec skull. Refractory to anything good.

  7. Avatar

    Thomas

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    A “dirty” farang with a clear concept of how to deal with the situation is telling this to Anutin.
    Good luck if he doesn’t get kicked out for it. Honesty, logical thinking and economic sense is NOT the Thai way. They do not listen/appreciate/value others experience and knowledge. I wouldn’t be surprised if Anutin & Co go to the temple everyday and see what enlightened ideas they receive from there and go with that..

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      Dead right Thomas.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    “The persons that catch this virus have less than .01 percent of dying from it.
    Most of those are fat, old, and have pre-existing medical conditions. Source: Our world in data.”

    Except that isn’t what your source says, Toby, or even suggests. It’s pure fantasy.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 10:15 pm

      Well I doubt you even read it.
      You object because I wrote it.
      Instead of disputing others figures how about writing some of your own and quote the source so others can rubbish your post.
      All you post is your opinions. trying to impress the forum with your wisdom, which is what you get your jollys from.

  9. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    It’s clear the economy can’t stay shut down, government official after government official have stated it will lead to disaster. Quotes of 14 million unemployed and such. Business are just holding on in hopes the high season saves them. Its time to fish or cut bait as high season is upon us. Either keep the 14 day quarantine, streamlining it and opening it up to any tourist willing to be subjected to it. That or quickly switch to a multiple test and tract system like that proposed by Singapore. Pre fight test, post flight test , again at day 2-5-7 and 14. Put a tracker on their phone or physical body. Get tough with masks, cleaners and social distancing. Live with the results. Thailand can’t continue on its current path, its slow death for the economy. No country can give up 20% of its economy, it doesn’t work that way. The ripple effects of the upcoming business failures will effect the entire economy. History has shown economic collapse comes quickly. The signs in hindsight are easy to see, but the actual tipping point is silent comes quick and is brutal. Do one or the other and live with the result. The idea half measures and tinkering with the current failed system will at some point down the line work?

  10. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Er John, you are fat and old aren’t you. That is why you object to my post, right?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      “The persons that catch this virus have less than .01 percent of dying from it.
      Most of those are fat, old, and have pre-existing medical conditions. Source: Our world in data.”
      “Well I doubt you even read it.
      You object because I wrote it.
      Instead of disputing others figures how about writing some of your own and quote the source so others can rubbish your post.”
      “Er John, you are fat and old aren’t you. That is why you object to my post, right?”

      No, I objected to your post because the source you cited, Our World in Data, is reliable and authoritative but you simply lied about what they said.

      What they ACTUALLY say can be found at https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid

      They give the stats for both the Case Fatality Rate (CFR, based on official national stats for infections and deaths) and the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR, based on informed estimates).

      Both the CFR and the IFR give similar results: just over a 3% mortality rate globally for those catching Covid-19 over the last two months.

      In some countries it’s considerably higher (in the UK it’s between 8 and 14%, in Thailand it’s 1.7%).

      You lied, and said that Our World in Data put it at 0.01% when they actually put it at 3.1%, which is over 300 times higher.

      That’s why I objected to it.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    I can’t help finding it rather ironic comparing this to Bill Heinecke’s previous open letter on Covid-19, back in March, which took a very different line.

    https://thethaiger.com/coronavirus/minor-international-pleads-with-thai-pm-for-a-full-lockdown

    The headline says it all, but it’s worth noting …

    “We applaud the strong actions that have been taken by the Thai government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to date, including restrictions on inbound travel to Thailand …

    … Despite this, there is still a large portion of our country that does not seem to understand the gravity of our situation and is not taking the threat seriously enough. …

    … We at Minor International believe that the risk to hotels guests, our staff and the public remains very high despite the steps already taken by the Thai government and the BMA. This is because the virus has proven to be so highly infectious and because there is simply not sufficient testing capability at present to effectively stop its spread. …

    … As such, as of today we are closing our hotels in Bangkok, with a view to extending this to other high-risk areas in Thailand. We are urging our staff to stay home and to limit any travel or indeed any out-of-home activities at all.

    While this will be painful in the short term, we believe that strong short-terms measures are the best way to address this and avoid large-scale job losses and disruption. We consider this to be first and foremost a health and medical crisis and we are being guided by what the health experts are recommending, despite the short-term cost to our business. …

    … Thank you again for your strong leadership in these challenging times.”

    What a difference it makes when you start losing money, and how priorities change …

    • Avatar

      Scott

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:55 am

      Come on! Back in March, we were facing a new virus that was on the rise and spreading rapidly, resulting in deaths. Today it is well under control making the letters both entirely appropriate when written. You should understand and appreciate the situation in March was very different to October.

      • Avatar

        Scott

        Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 4:56 pm

        sorry this comment landed in the wrong place , I refers to the comparison of the March and October letters

  12. Avatar

    john de doe

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    In addition to what have been suggested, may I also comment that application for COE is also a hurdle and some people that are applying may not continue to do so due to the following:
    – Hotels are requiring full amount during the booking/reservation that will be submitted to the RTE in their home country. Some hotels requires 5,000 baht deposit but many do not and their cancellation policies varied. Hotels should not charge for booking/reservation as the COE is not guaranteed to be issued. The overbooking problem may be solved by booking expiry, for instance if the booking is not paid after 14 days. COE processing time is at least 10 working days. The applicants are hesitant to proceed because of this.
    – The insurance requirement must be relaxed as some foreigners (not first time to enter Thailand), for instance foreign spouses already have local Thai insurance (such as AIA) that covers covid-19, that is, hospitalization although the cap of 100,000 USD is not explicitly mentioned in the insurance policy, these types of insurance should be accepted no questions asked.

    • Avatar

      Patrick Wahle

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      All these hurdles have no meaning as long as travel advisories are enforced. ALL TRAVELS OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY VOID THE INSURANCE AS LONG AS THERE IS AN EXPLICIT TRAVEL ADVISORY. I checked 18 of the largest travel insurance corporations and all of them have this disclaimer. Only solution is to come at your own risk and don’t expect any help from your consular services in case of a new lockdown. You are on your own. So don’t expect any tourist, short term, long term or retiree to come to Thailand from a country which has issued travel advisory. Period.
      I am one of those and I shall come on my own terms. On top of that I miss skiing so this is a great opportunity for winter sports.

  13. Avatar

    Denis Brown-Bouvier

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    I have no interest in trying to put my health and safety at risk so Mr. Heinecke can resume profit taking. I put little faith in his motives and his
    anecdotal evidence on the virus, and I put even less trust in the Minister of Health.

  14. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    I objected to it because it’s not true.

    You claimed that according to Our World in Data “The persons that catch this virus have less than .01 percent of dying from it”.

    That’s totally untrue.

    According to Our World in Data, whether you use the CFR or the IFR rate, if you catch the virus you have a 3.1% chance of dying from it. That’s the global rate: they rate the cahnces in Thailand at 1.7%, going up to as much as 10, 12 or 14% in the UK, Italy, the Netherlands and in other western countries.

    That’s over 300 times the chance of dying that you claimed it said.

    *: https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid

  15. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Interesting to contrast this open letter about relaxing the quarantine restrictions with his previous one, also published here, pleading for a full lockdown,

    https://thethaiger.com/coronavirus/minor-international-pleads-with-thai-pm-for-a-full-lockdown

    • Avatar

      EdwardV

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      Lets be fair John, can we really hold against him a letter he wrote 7 months ago? Everyone expect this thing to be short lived, heck even Thailand thought the shut down would be no more than two months. Back then it’s perfectly reasonable for him to agree a complete shut down was in order. Today not so much. Even if you want to be completely cynical and say it’s only about money it still makes sense for him to have changed his tune. Back in April high season was over, shutting down two or even four months wasn’t a killer to his corporation. Now it’s seven months later and no end is in sight. He is about to lose the high season and if that’s lost you basically need to wait another year for true revenue. Doubt there are many companies that can withstand that. It’s why TAT and the Thai minister of finance are raising the alarm about what losing the high season will do to the overall economy (not just the tourism sector). No doubt he is thinking mostly about his company. However as goes the health of his company so goes the health of the entire Thai economy.

  16. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Well John I was wrong.
    I hate to admit it, but I was calculating on population, not persons contagious.
    A rough calculation of persons infected in the world 37000000, and deaths are about a million.
    So the world percentage of deaths is 2.7.
    However, when the statistics exclude people that were very ill, and the virus finished them off,
    and wrongful diagnosis for the virus. Then take way the fat and old, then the world percentage for deaths from the virus is less than 2.7 deaths per contagious people.
    Regardless of this I was wrong when I wrote it was .01 deaths of contagious people.
    This is a great shock to me because I am always right!

  17. Avatar

    Al

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    It’s a money and fear scam – use the brain you were given and also good ol’ intuition…..simple as that 😉

  18. Avatar

    Craig

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:00 am

    This is the its time I have posted on this site in my case I am married to a Thai have property business with my wife and a 3 yr old son, due to my job in the fire service I get 2 periods of leave of 28 days a year, I was due to fly out in April but Thailand locked down 2 days before my flight,I have November booked off but cannot afford to stay in 5 star hotel for 14 days plus the almost double cost of the currently only 3 flights a month coming to Thailand that fit the criteria,I would be more than happy to test before, on arrival, and when required if it meant I could see my son and wife who I have been apart from for a year now I have Thai id card but am not guaranteed a flight booking everything is set against people returning to Thailand not just tourists.
    In your posts you argue about deaths percentages motives ect.but you should be talking about the huge human cost as well as economic costs that keeping Thailand locked down so hard is having and will have till common sense begins to take over,so guys continue to snipe but you really are
    In a privileged position to be able to comment from inside Thailand where I would love to be with my family and son who I miss beyond measure.

    • Avatar

      Scott

      Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for sharing your story and raising an important issue, I hope you are reunited soon, best wishes!

  19. Avatar

    Scott

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 8:50 am

    I watch and read a lot of international coverage of Covid-19 and I never hear any reference to Thailand as a successful case in the fight against the virus. South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and even Cuba get a mention among others but not Thailand. I see the Thailand tourism ad running on CNN along with BDMS ads but still no coverage. The spend on these ads could be leveraged to ensure Thailand gets a mention in the news and opinion segments on CNN. Some positive PR would go a long way to inform the world of the successful management of the virus and the safe status of Thailand as a destination. Even though it may be too difficult for tourists to come right now, it is the perfect time to communicate the success story and ensure Thailand is top of mind as a safe and amazing destination. The safe story also easily dovetails into the promotion of the Thai world class medical facilities and related tourism. It is surely an obvious and easy strategy to promote Thailand and ensure demand for the destination when the day come to open the doors.

    • Avatar

      Patrick Wahle

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      We don’t watch the same channels. My channels speak about demonstrations, unrest’s, military junta, arrests, etc… definitely not the best ads for tourism. Too many people have been stranded for months in touristic countries, lost their jobs flights cancelled, still waiting for refunds and now they are broke. All these people have other things on their mind than travelling to Southeast Asia. They have been “vaccinated” against all these lockdowns, amnesty, curfews, travel restrictions, etc…

  20. Avatar

    Bethanie Burrus

    Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 4:15 am

    It should be clear!

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Economy

Thailand Consumer Confidence Index hits record low

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Consumer Confidence index slips again to below the pre-pandemic record. (via CNN)

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has reported that the Consumer Confidence Index has hit another new record low of 46.0 in April. The Covid-19 global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy and consumer confidence has fallen frequently to the lowest points that it has seen since 1998.

The president of the UTTC believes that consumers generally don’t feel like there has been much of a recovery for the economy since the global pandemic began and without a stimulating event to motivate economic growth, the index is expected to continue to fall further. The university estimated that if the third wave of Covid-19 continues past the end of May the economy can expect to lose 400 to 600 billion baht.

The UTTC president stressed that the government should hasten to step up relief measures and make sure they continue relief and economic stimulus throughout the pandemic to avoid economic catastrophe. He predicted that the economy and the Consumer Confidence Index will continue on a downward slope without any hope of improvement until the vaccine rollout gets well underway towards herd immunity, and new Covid-19 infections are decreased dramatically.

Today saw another 2,101 new Covid-19 infections and 17 deaths in Thailand. Vaccination efforts are continually being stepped up, but still remain woefully slow.

The Consumer Confidence Index first started falling last year, with a drop below the previous record low in 1998 in April of 2020, when it fell to 47.2. A few months later, by July of last year, it had recovered significantly, climbing back over 50. But by March of this year, the index had fallen again to 48.5. With April’s tumble of 2.5 points, the Consumer Confidence Index pushes once again to a new record low.

SOURCE: Thai Business News

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Economy

Thailand increases durian exports to China by 14% this year

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Thailand has exported 14% more durian to China in this year’s first quarter over the same period last year. The Trade Negotiations Department Director General says Thai durian auctions in the first quarter secured 186 million, making up 88% of the total amount of Thai durian exports to world markets.

Last year, Thailand exported US1.5 billion worth of durian to China, a 78% increase from 2019. China’s share accounted for 73% of total Thai durian exports to world markets. 18 countries have free trade agreements for fruit with Thailand. Thailand is actively exporting fresh fruit with its top buyers being Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The most popular fruits are the national delicacy of durian, along with mango, mangosteen and longan.

Despite the increases in durian exports, farmers have been worried about Covid-19′s effect on the industry. Earlier in 2021 health authorities in China circulated a press release stating that imported cherries from Chile had been tested and found to have Covid-19 contamination. This statement prompted a huge drop in Chilean cherry prices. Thai growers are worried the same might happen to durian imports. As the seriousness of the Coronavirus in Thailand reaches new widespread levels, one instance of a durian container being linked to Covid-19 could spur a total ban on importing fruit from Thailand.

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