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Phuket has Golden future for its sister city

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | The Thaiger

by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand

CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.

In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.

Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.

Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.

“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.

CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.

Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists | News by The Thaiger

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Business

World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8%

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8% | The Thaiger

The World Bank is downgrading Thailand’s growth projections to 3.8% from 3.9% for 2019. This compares to last year’s 4.1% GDP. The Bank says that export growth has shrunk to 5.7% from last year’s 5.9%.

The World Bank’s senior economist for Thailand, Mr. Kiatpong Ariyapratya, says that the Word Bank also projects that Thailand’s growth rate for next year would remain at 3.8%. He was citing the East Asia and Pacific Update report,

“Thailand’s export growth projection for this year was adjusted down because of a global economic slowdown as a result of the simmering trade war between the US and China. Growth in tourist arrivals to Thailand this year is also projected to drop slightly.”

Thai PBS reports that, although Thailand’s growth projection is lower than the average 4%-5% rate for the rest of ASEAN, Mr. Kiatpong said that Thailand’s economic growth trend was improving compared to the situation 2-3 years ago, especially investment in the government and private sectors and the private sector’s consumption is picking up, constituting the main engines of economic expansion, expected to grow 4.6% and 4.3% respectively.

He warned that investments by the government sector for the year 2021, as well as government procurement projects and private sector investments, might be affected if formation of the new government is further delayed.

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Bangkok

Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht | The Thaiger

The long running issue of Bangkok’s ‘stonehenge’ has been resolved after the Supreme Administrative Court handed down its findings today over the disputed contract of the 60 kilometre link from central Bangkok to Don Mueang Airport.

The Thai Ministry of Transport and the State Railway of Thailand have been dealt a costly blow after the Supreme Administrative Court today overturned the Administrative Court’s verdict and ordered the two state agencies pay almost 11.9 billion baht in compensation to the Hong Kong-based Hopewell Holdings Company for the termination of the Hopewell project – a 60 kilometre elevated highway and rail line from central Bangkok to Don Meuang international airport back in the 90s.

Thai PBS reports that the compensation, plus another 500 million baht in bank guarantees put up by Hopewell Holdings Company, must be paid within 180 days of the verdict from the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Thai court’s verdict will put an end to the long-running legal battle, between the Transport Ministry and the SRT on one side and HK’s Hopewell Holdings on the other.

Hopewell Holding was granted the 30 year concession in 1990 to manage the project, given the nickname of the Thai “Stonehenge”.  The project was riddled with difficulties and widely criticised, resulting in construction being suspended in 1992 and the eventual termination of the contract in 1998, with less than 20% of the work completed.

The dispute over compensation went through an arbitration process under the auspices of the Thai Arbitration Institute which in 2008 ruled in favour of Hopewell Holdings, with both the Transport Ministry and the SRT ordered to pay Hopewell about 12 billion baht in compensation for wrongful termination of the concession.

The two state agencies challenged the arbitration tribunal’s ruling by taking the case to the Administrative Court which in October 2014 overturned the tribunal’s ruling on the grounds that Hopewell’s claim was barred by a time limitation.

Hopewell Holdings then successfully appealed the ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.

SOURCE: The PBS

Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht | News by The Thaiger

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