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Thailand says “thank you”

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The Thai Government is thanking the world for the international efforts to rescue the Mu Pa football team and their coach after being trapped in the Tham Luang caves. The show of gratitude is a 30-second TV spot which started airing on CNN International over the weekend.

It starts with the smartphone video of the young survivors the moment they were first found perched on a ledge by a team of British drivers deep inside the dark and flooded cave.

“An entire country is one in heartfelt thanks. Without national boundaries working in unity, the world is one. Thank you.”

It ends with a shot of the mother of one of the rescued boys expressing relief upon knowing that her son was safe.

Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sport Weerasak Kowsurat says Thailand was sincerely thankful for all the help that it received in the rescue mission which he described as one of “the most pressing and sophisticated operations to save human lives in history”.

He said besides CNN, the ministry is exploring other international channels to convey the message.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Thailand

5 people killed in Nakhon Si Thammarat flash flooding

Caitlin Ashworth

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5 people killed in Nakhon Si Thammarat flash flooding | The Thaiger
PHOTO:ฉ่าริฟ ริฟ ดีนนุ้ย

5 people died from the flash floods in Nakhon Si Thammarat after several days of heavy rain, according to Governor Kraisorn Wisitwong. Disaster mitigation officers have rescued locals from several districts who had to evacuate their homes due to the extensive flooding.

The 5 deaths were in the districts Noppitam, Phra Phrom, Chalerm Phra Kiat and Chawang. Thousands of households have been affected by the rising waters. This morning, reports say 942 villages in 19 districts were flooded, affecting more than 180,000 people.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Tourism

4 years until tourism industry gets back to pre-pandemic levels – Finance Ministry

Caitlin Ashworth

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4 years until tourism industry gets back to pre-pandemic levels – Finance Ministry | The Thaiger

It could take 4 years for Thailand’s tourism industry to recover after being battered by the lack of travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s reaction and the economic fallout, according to the Finance Ministry.

While local and international experts project Thailand’s economy will continue to recover over the next 2 years, the tourism industry, which directly contributes 12-15% of the country’s GDP, is forecasted to take at least 4 years to get back to the pre-pandemic level, if ever. Last year, Thailand had nearly 40 million foreign tourist arrivals, generating 2 trillion baht.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith says he expects 8 million foreign tourists to arrive in 2021, followed by 16 million in 2022, 32 million in 2023 and 40 million in 2024. But the projections are just broad speculation.

No foreign tourists entered the country between April and September this year. In October, 1,201 foreign tourists were issued Special Tourist Visas for 90 day stays that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months in total. Under the current arrangements there will only be a trickle of tourists coming under the current regime including 14 day quarantine, at the tourist’s expense, and lots of paperwork and red tape.

IF Thailand does end up. with 8 million foreign tourist arrivals next year, and the cash subsidy scheme is extended, the country’s GDP is expected to expand by 4% to 4.5%, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

20 more people suspected of being involved in corruption at Thai Airways

Caitlin Ashworth

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20 more people suspected of being involved in corruption at Thai Airways | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

20 people are suspected of corruption and mismanagement within the national airline that led to massive losses for Thai Airways International. The news, announced by police and deputy head of the commission investigating the airline, Saroj Nimaroen, comes as little surprise to anyone who has been following the demise of Thailand’s legacy airline over the past decade. The airline is tackling a debt of around 300 billion baht.

The story follows many other tales of corruption and bad deals that have been part of a larger puzzle that is now being unraveled by accounts and committees who are handling the airlines’ bankruptcy. You can read other stories about alleged corruption in Thai Airways HERE and HERE and HERE.

So far, 20 people are suspected of corruption in 6 different aspects of the company’s management, according to Saroj. One is excessive overtime pay for the airline’s mechanics department. He says the department disbursed more than 6 million baht to 567 staff members as overtime pay for 1,500 hours per year.

“This will require further investigation into the reason and necessity of disbursing such a large amount as overtime pay.”

The investigation into alleged corruption at the airline started in August. In September, 18 documents showing evidence of corruption and mismanagement at the airline was submitted to the Finance Ministry, which is a major shareholder for Thai Airways.

Along with excessive overtime pay, earlier reports say sellers of discounted tickets at the airline were given incentives based on numbers sold, not on the value of the tickets or any sales deficit. This practice of selling discounted tickets to agents cost the airline billions of baht each year, according to the head of the corruption panel, Komkit Wongsomboon.

Also, the airline’s decision to buy 10 Airbus A340 aircraft for 100 billion baht in 2004 was catastrophic. With the increase in maintenance costs, the airline lost money on all 10 airplanes. All but 1 of them have been decommissioned and stored at the U-Tapao airport.

The investigation panel will meet with the National Anti-Corruption Commission on December 14. Along with providing additional information about the alleged corruption at Thai Airways, Saroj says he will submit a list of people suspected of being involved in corruption.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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