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Panel announces plans to boost tourism, create 1 million jobs

Jack Burton

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Panel announces plans to boost tourism, create 1 million jobs | Thaiger
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The new panel established by PM Prayut Chan-ocha to steer the economy through the Covid-19 crisis got off to a blazing start yesterday, announcing measures to boost tourism and create a million jobs. Created after the Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, the panel’s first meeting was chaired by the PM and attended by economics ministers and experts. After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said they had agreed to increase subsidies for local tourists and make jobs available for 400,000 recent graduates.

The committee plans to boost local tourism by expanding its 40% subsidy for accommodation costs from 5 nights to 10. The government launched the tourism subsidies in mid-July with its “We Travel Together” scheme, but so far only around 660,000 of the available 5 million subsidised nights have been booked. Travellers will also see their 1,000 baht discount on air tickets increased to 2,000 baht. Corporations will be invited to use the subsidies to organise seminars or training in other parts of the country. The measures will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval on Tuesday.

The Labour Ministry will also propose measures to create 1 million jobs in the near future to combat burgeoning unemployment. The government has prioritised finding another 400,000 jobs for graduates by funding companies to hire and retain workers. The jobs will be available at private companies and government agencies, according to the minister. The government will also launch other job creation projects funded by the 400 billion baht economic stimulus package.

The unemployment rate in the second quarter rose 1.9 per cent to 745,000 people, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council. The NESDC is also worried about further job losses as 1.7 million workers are currently “furloughed”. The state think-tank predicts the economy will shrink 7.5 per cent this year following a plunge of 12.2 per cent in the second quarter.

Supattanapong said the government aims to bolster the economy and keep the contraction lower than projections.

The new governor of the Bank of Thailand says more small and medium-sized enterprises will apply for loans under the government’s 500 billion baht soft loans scheme. Launched by the central bank in April, the scheme has attracted fewer than expected borrowers due to strict loan conditions. On Tuesday the government relaxed the conditions, instructing bythe state run Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation to guarantee loans, which will encourage commercial banks to lend more.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    TS

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    “off to a blazing start, blah, blah, so far only around 660,000 of the available 5 million subsidised nights have been booked, blah, blah, labour ministry to propose plan to create one million-ONE MILLION! jobs in near future.” Thai tourists will be queuing up as fast as those lucky foreign tourists from “safe” cities for the chance of a lifetime to get to fabulous destinations such as Phuket. Plan is a game changer?

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    This is the answer to the lukewarm reception.

    Money will be spent on neccesities, helping family and saved for emergencies. Not many will want to vacay/holiday in a ghost town.

  3. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    I repeat from an earlier post.

    Not rocket science is it.
    It doesn’t matter how cheap you make something if the majority of your people HAVE NO MONEY and don’t know when they will get any.

    Now you are expecting companies that cannot afford to pay their staff and are laying people off, to take up the offer.

    Oh wake up and smell the coffee

  4. Avatar

    TS

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Name of the game for unemployed/displaced Thai people is survival day to day- for themselves, family, friends, neighbors; they’re trying to stay afloat, not thinking about running off to some supposedly gov. subsidised holiday with smiley faces pretending to enjoy. Get real ministries of whatever, stop with the empty promises of millions of jobs and bright future just around the corner. You’ve got extra monies- find a way to get it to the millions of Thais in need. And I feel blessed to live amongst them as a guest. Ever cheerful, helpful, tolerant

  5. Avatar

    David

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    If the panel’s been established and chaired by PM Prayut, how could it possibly not achieve what it claims to be confident in achieving? Why, that would almost be like telling lies . . . lies like not improving education, not improving road-safety, not improving wealth & social inequality, not improving the work-ethic of the RTP . . . or even to get them working at all. Just more hot air which his lordship craves will give him more kudos.

    • Avatar

      Mike Frenchie

      Friday, August 21, 2020 at 4:53 am

      It is diving fast… very fast.

      Thailand is not injecting money in its economy (or so little) as the West is doing while keeping the country shut! With its tourism (min. 15%), real estate (5%) and retail (10%) being hammered, yoy GDP will sink >20%…

      No, not everything will be all right, many people will die of the consequences of these erratic decisions. COVID is not lethal for most, starving will be…

  6. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Those don’t sound like loans, they sound like welfare – bad debts that may have to be written off.

  7. Avatar

    Ray W.

    Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Ummm… what?! There is effectively no one with real expendable income. This is like saying we are going to increase ‘0’ by 40%… so still ‘0’, nada, nothing. OPEN the boarder, deal with the risk, stop destroying the economy, we are loosing more people to that then we ever would have to COVID.

  8. Avatar

    Roger Elliot

    Friday, August 21, 2020 at 2:50 am

    This “we travel together” scheme is clearly a perk for the privileged minority in Thailand. The vast majority of people in Thailand is more concerned about putting food on there table.

  9. Avatar

    Mike

    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Travel subsidies only benefit the wealthy of Thailand andiIncluding expats means little as they make up such a small percentage of the population. Including incoming tourist would come at a cost and require a balancing act that can not be achieved with desired results.
    Phuket wants to let in tourist but confine them to a small section of beach. Nobody wants to spend money to fly across countries only to be in a lockdown scenario. It sounds great on paper (make the locals feel safe and show that it will help the economy) but with very few takers it won’t help anybody and certainly won’t help a devastated economy. In the end opening up Thailand, and thus the economy, is the only way to recover. Unfortunately this will pose a high risk of COVID. Pick your bad – COVID or bad economy.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff

Maya Taylor

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Aviation authority calling for 20,000 vaccine doses for crew, ground staff | Thaiger
PHOTO: Christian Junker on Flickr

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is calling for vaccine doses to protect around 20,000 airline crew and ground staff before the country re-opens to international tourists. The CAAT says it’s vital that those working in the aviation industry are protected and has submitted its request to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

According to Suthipong Kongpool from the CAAT, there are around 20,000 airline employees, including crew and ground staff, who will need to be vaccinated. As 2 doses are required, a total of 40,000 doses are needed to fully protect staff. The Bangkok Post reports that the CAAT will meet on Thursday to review the aviation sector’s readiness for when the country re-opens without international arrivals having to quarantine.

Suthipong says they are seeking enough vaccine doses to protect employees of Thai-registered carriers.

“It’s a confidence-building measure for tourists and those providing the services to them.”

From July, the southern island of Phuket will be the first part of the country to waive quarantine for vaccinated international arrivals, subject to 70% of local residents being vaccinated. The “sandbox” project is a pilot programme that will be expanded to other areas if it proves successful. Between October and the end of the year, 5 other provinces – Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Chon Buri, and Chiang Mai – are expected to adopt the programme. Officials hope to be able to re-open the country fully from January 2022.

According to the CAAT, the first foreign visitors expected to return to Phuket will be Chinese tourists, given that country’s success in managing the pandemic. Meanwhile, the CAAT says Thailand will see a 7% increase in air traffic this month compared to last, with a total of 36,150 domestic and international flights.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Labour union angry over changes to Thai Airways staff contracts under rehab plan

Maya Taylor

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Labour union angry over changes to Thai Airways staff contracts under rehab plan | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

Union representatives are questioning changes made to the employment terms of Thai Airways staff as part of the national carrier’s debt-restructuring plan. The labour union claims the changes have removed or diluted several staff entitlements and welfare benefits, pointing the finger at acting president, Chansin Treenuchagron, who signed the orders.

The union is calling on the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare to review the changes to check if they align with a debt-restructuring plan submitted to the Central Bankruptcy Court. According to a Bangkok Post report, the union believes the signed orders may go against the terms of the rehab plan currently being reviewed by creditors. They include an order related to the company’s new organisational structure, as well as the screening of workers who will continue to be employed by the carrier during and after the rehab process.

Union representatives accuse the airline of changing the terms and conditions of employee contracts, meaning weaker welfare benefits. They are asking the DLPW to confirm if the changes comply with the 1940 Bankruptcy Act, the 1975 Labour Relations Act, and the 1998 Labour Protection Act. The union says that if the changes are found to violate the acts, Chansin should be ordered to cancel the orders and draw up new employment terms that comply with the airline’s rehab plan and with employment law.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Leader of Thai cryptocurrency exchange warns regulators about tight restrictions

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Leader of Thai cryptocurrency exchange warns regulators about tight restrictions | Thaiger
Stock photo by André François McKenzie for Unsplash

The co-founder of Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has slammed regulators for plans to set requirements that would limit who can trade cryptocurrency. Following a drastic spike in domestic crypto trading, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, decided to look into tighter restrictions and say traders will be soon required to have experience, be educated in trading or pass an exam.

Too many regulations will push some Thais away, according to 33 year old Atichanan Pulges, co-founder and CFO of Bitkub. He warns that too many restrictions might drive amateur traders to unregulated international platforms in other countries.

Atichanan told Bloomberg that these restrictions will do little to stem the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Thailand. The SEC’s restrictions were proposed in response to an unprecedented surge in crypto trading beginning in November 2020. According to the SEC’s own data, crypto-trading in Thailand jumped six fold from 18 billion baht in November to 124 billion baht in February. Bitkub themselves reported a daily turnover of 4.2 billion baht throughout February, a jump of nearly 40% from the previous month.

Thai authorities continue to struggle with the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, as they strive to balance embracing innovation with protecting investors. The SEC recently walked back potential restrictions which would have limited crypto purchases to those with a minimum income of 1 million baht after public backlash. Instead, they’ve proposed a program to educate potential investors of the risks involved in investing in the notoriously volatile crypto market.

Undeterred by any potential regulations, Bitkub – who claim to host around 90% of crypto trading in Thailand – have announced plans to expand over the coming year, aiming to double their current staff to 500 and introduce their own debit card. The company is also aiming to achieve the coveted ‘unicorn’ status (a private valuation of more than $1 billion) at some point in the near future.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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