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Phuket has Golden future for its sister city

The Thaiger & The Nation



Phuket has Golden future for its sister city | The Thaiger

by Chongchit Buchanan

Australia’s Gold Coast city and Phuket will sign a letter of intent to establish themselves as sister cities tomorrow (September 10).

The intent of the agreement is to explore a stronger relationship between the two municipalities and create international business opportunities.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate will travel to Phuket to sign the agreement with his Phuket counterparts.

The mayor is half Thai, originally from Saraburi, and emigrated to Australia at a very young age. He said that Gold Coast and Phuket share similarities in economic success, year-round sunshine and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

“I want this sister city partnership to work, because I know that Gold Coast and Phuket are a good match. The two cities share a significant beach culture and we could possibly exchange knowledge on lifeguard procedures and training. We will see what Phuket authorities and other business operators will be interested in, this is the first stage,” said the mayor.

He said Phuket has the potential to become a mid-way destination for European travellers to spend a few weeks before flying on to Gold Coast.

He says that for an interim period of one year, the Gold Coast government will send officials to Phuket to explore areas where they can exchange work ideas and knowledge.

“For instance, if Phuket is looking at developing a better waste management policy, or green energy utilisation, we will see how both parties can work together on the initial high-level studies,” he said.

Phuket has Golden future for its sister city | News by The Thaiger

Gold Coast is a multicultural city and a hub for Australia’s tourism with its geography and economy similar to  Phuket.

For Gold Coast, international partnerships of this type are a source of economic growth; provide cultural, educational and professional opportunities, and boost international profiles. These relationships open doors to the world and create real outcomes for Gold Coast residents and businesses.

Traditionally, sister city relationships focus on cultural and education exchanges. It is now recognised that these relationships also have the ability to stimulate economic growth, increase tourism and assist in establishing reliable business contacts, which can create long-term benefits to the local communities in both cities.

They also enable communities to exchange ideas, gain an international perspective and increase their understanding of global issues.

Currently, Gold Coast has eight sister cities and one friendship agreement, all of which have helped shape Gold Coast as a city of global significance by fostering successful business and cultural ties. This is through initiatives that include two-way trade missions, hosting inbound delegations, and offering business and student exchanges.

As for the benefit to Phuket, Andrew Park, the Honorary Consul of Thailand for Queensland, Australia, says that the partnership is important at many levels. Apart from generating government-to-government links between the two cities, it also creates direct links at the people-to-people level.

“Prince Songkla University Hospitality and Tourism School in Phuket is well established and well regarded as one of the world best hospitality, hotel management and tourism schools while the Griffith University in the Gold Coast has the same high acclaim globally,” Park said.

“There is a possibility of academic exchanges between the two institutions for the benefit of both,” said Park.

He also said that in terms of the business linkages, the agreement will be a driver for the government of Gold Coast to express an interest in developing stronger partnerships with Phuket at the business level.

“Next year, Mayor Tate will be taking business delegations across to Phuket and I believe Phuket will be doing the same. The marine sector, with the wealthy high-end yachting industry, is something Phuket does very well and I believe that is something Gold Coast can learn and benefit from.”

Park said that he is excited to be part of creating this inaugural relationship between the two cities to set a good example for further relationships between cities in the two countries in the future.

Phuket has Golden future for its sister city | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

The Thaiger



BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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Chinese foreign policy – On track

The Thaiger



Chinese foreign policy – On track | The Thaiger

by Nikkei Asia Review

“When Japanese trading house Itochu and train maker Hitachi withdrew from a soon-to-be-decided $7 billion tender for a high-speed rail project near Bangkok, it appeared to be another victory for China and its grand plans to connect Southeast Asia with railways.

Thailand has for decades been the centerpiece of Tokyo’s strategy for Southeast Asia, and long-discussed plans to build extensive shinkansen-style rail lines in the country’s east and north were meant to cement the relationship between the two nations.

But while Japan’s ambitions have been stalled by disagreements about financing and other details, Beijing has managed to push ahead with construction of a separate high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. To some, the rail projects are a symbol of China’s growing influence in a country where Japan had spent decades building ties.”

The article predicts that the Chinese investment into South East Asian rail services is part of its broader ‘belt and road’ policy that is stretching out into new routes and connecting regions, and China, with hitherto remote parts of the asian continent.

“China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok, however. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.”

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

China’s reach southwards will allow it to exert greater political influence on places like Singapore which, for now, still retains strong connections to Washington. Investing in high-speed railways all the way from China’s borders to the tip of the Malay Peninsula is a lot more than just an economic investment, it’s a high-profile symbol of China’s new influence in the region where issues such as ‘Taiwan’ and it’s demands in the South China Sea have caused prickly negotiations with the ASEAN countries.

But to reach Singapore, China must first get Malaysia on side…

“A dramatic recent shift in Malaysian politics has put China’s plans for Singapore on hold, however. After his election in May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to hold up “for now” the $20 billion 688-km east coast rail line connecting southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, and postpone for two years a 350-km high-speed rail link between the Malaysian capital and Singapore.”

The article says that these ‘investments’ are actually just loans for high-priced infrastructure that often cannot be repaid by smaller economies….

“China typically provides loans, not grants, for foreign infrastructure projects, and takes possession of the project if the recipient is unable to repay its debt – as happened with a port in Sri Lanka. Such instances have prompted critics in the West to accuse China of practicing ‘debt diplomacy’.”

Read more of this fascinating and important article from Nikkei Asia Review HERE.

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites

The Thaiger



Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites | The Thaiger

Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.

Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.

Read more about this story from News BTC HERE.

(Thaiger Bites provides these short snippets for stories we believe of interest to our readers)

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