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UPDATE: British Embassy statement on income letters

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: British Embassy statement on income letters | The Thaiger

Officials knew about problems back in May and say that US nationals will also be affected.

The British Embassy in Bangkok has responded to requests for clarification by Thaivisa on the issuing of letters regarding income.

They said that they had a meeting with immigration in May and told Thaivisa that they are “not verification experts”.

They have also claimed that US nationals will also be caught up in the problems as their embassy is also said to be stopping notarized letters in this regard as well.

The reply to questions from Thaivisa came in a statement via email from the British Embassy.

The full text of the reply is below:

“The decision was made by the British Embassy following a meeting with immigration in May in which they confirmed that they expect the embassy to verify all sources of income of British Nationals requesting an income letter.  Consular officers are not verification experts and therefore cannot fulfil (sic) this requirement. We also cannot verify income from every income source in every country of the world. Thai Immigration is able to verify the income in a Thai bank account, therefore British Nationals should show evidence of minimum funds for their visa type by showing a Thai bank statement and/or bank book. This is not a new requirement and has always been an option for foreigners renewing retirement and marriage visas in Thailand”.

Regarding the way forward the British Embassy Bangkok told Thaivisa.com

“British Nationals should now demonstrate that they have an amount of at least 800,000 baht in an account in Thailand for no less than three months prior to the visa application, or a monthly income of at least 65,000 baht transferred into an account in Thailand for a retirement visa. For a marriage visa, the amounts are at least 400,000 baht in an account in Thailand for no less than three months prior to the visa application, or a monthly income of at least 40,000 baht transferred into an account in Thailand. A bank statement should be used as the supporting document for obtaining a Thai retirement or marriage visa. If the British National doesn’t already have a bank account, they should open one and follow the steps above”.

Asked if they were aware of action by other embassies the British Embassy Bangkok said:

“Yes we are aware that the US embassy will also be stopping their notarised income letter.  Please contact them directly for further information”.

The issue has been one of the most widely commented upon stories of the year on Thaivisa.

Meanwhile the embassies of New Zealand and the Netherlands have confirmed to Thaivisa that they have no plans to stop the similar services they offer to their nationals in Thailand.

“There is no change to the New Zealand Embassy’s current process.  New Zealand nationals are welcome to visit the Embassy to  complete a statutory declaration – and declare their income.

“Alternatively, the Embassy can also issue a consular letter to those who present evidence that income earned is from the Ministry of Work and Income (WINZ) or  Ministry of Social Development (MSD). The fee for completing a statutory declaration or consular letter is 1,330 baht.”

A statement from the Embassy of the Netherlands read: “There is no indication that the Dutch Government is going to stop this service for its nationals”.

Earlier this week the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok told Thaivisa it had no plans change to its current process.

SOURCE: ThaiVisa



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Thai Life

Finance Ministry wants to give 1,500 baht to each domestic traveller

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Finance Ministry wants to give 1,500 baht to each domestic traveller | The Thaiger

The Finance Ministry says they are launching a new stimulus package to boost the country’s domestic tourism by giving Thais 1,500 baht each to spend when they travel to 55 provinces under the promotion campaign.

Under the campaign, Thais aged 18 and over can register for the program. The government will then deposit 1,500 baht into their accounts though the e-payment system. They can use the funds to make e-payments the shops that have joined the project.

“We are collaborating with the Tourism and Sport Ministry and Krung Thai Bank for the campaign and have set a budget of up to 15 billion baht. We will now propose the program to the deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak and the cabinet to consider as soon as possible. We aim to launch the campaign before July this year,” a source from the Finance Ministry said.

The ministry expects up to 10 million Thais to register for the program, he added.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Bangkok named most popular city for Japanese tourists

The Thaiger

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Bangkok named most popular city for Japanese tourists | The Thaiger

Thai PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha says he was happy after hearing that Bangkok was named the most popular destination for Japanese tourists during their Golden Week, a five-day long holiday which begins in late April.

The survey was conducted by Agoda, the online booking platform. Pattaya and Phuket were also ranked among the most popular destinations at #4 and #10 respectively.

“Japanese tourists are among the top 5 nationalities of foreign tourists visiting Thailand, particularly Bangkok where there are many beautiful attractions, delicious food, not-too-high cost of living, and friendly Thai people. The two countries’s cultures are also quite similar. They can go along quite well,” said a spokesperson for the PM.

Lt Gen Werachon Sukondhapatipak, the deputy spokesman of the Thai government, added that the PM loves to follow the updates on the tourism industry. Thai tourists love to escape the summer heat in Thailand, and visit Japan to experience the Japanese spring, visit popular tourist locations, sample authentic Japanese food and the Japanese people. The PM also invited the Thai people to be a good hosts, making all tourists feel welcome and helping keep them safe.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Bangkok

Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling

Bill Barnett

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Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

PHOTOS: Rosewood Bangkok

For hotel owners and managers in South East Asia, one of the great mysteries of the past ten years has been the low rate profile of Bangkok’s luxury hotel set. Despite soaring and sustained tourism growth, rising airlift and a strong economy, rates at Bangkok’s top tier properties have remained fairly stagnant.

Have we reached the tipping point?

I had had the opportunity to visit the latest entry to the Bangkok luxury class a few days ago, the Rosewood. With 159 keys which includes a limited number of posh houses with private pools and terraces the property is seeing an exceptional response and already achieving high rates.

What’s impressive about the entry is a take on the design approach that sees hotel developers apply a non-uniform approach with AvroKO coming in to focus on the restaurants and bars, while the rooms and public areas were led by Celia Chu Design and Associates.

While the speakeasy Lennon’s has not be opened yet, the 6,000 record vinyl collection is impressive and the bar will clearly have a strong pull. Taking the approach to designing restaurants and not typical hotel outlets, the Chinese eatery Nan Bei is a breath of fresh air and limited seating provides a bespoke appeal.

Taking a step back, and looking at recent entries like the Waldorf Astoria, and upcoming 101 key Capella, what is clear is luxury properties are shifting in terms of key drivers of the segment of art, fashion, residential vibe, bar and restaurant offerings, wellness and events.

So, what about rates?

On a broad basis Bangkok’s top tier hotels have averaged rates of US$200-240 for the past few years. This set has seen longer serving properties such as the St. Regis, Kempinski, and Okura effectively flatline on rates, though newer entries have come up including the Park Hyatt. On the broader horizon is the return of the Four Seasons and Capella by the river and the Orient Express at the MahaNakhon skyscraper.

With the entry of Rosewood driving rates, my expectation is that a few of the set will follow and at the end of 2019 we will set limited number of hotels crash through the US$300 average room rate barrier and effectively smash the legacy glass ceiling of Bangkok’s luxury hotels.

As in any business there will be winners and losers. Smaller hotels with some rate leading premium key types will be able to push up average daily rates. Segmentation is another key and hotels on the river that lack substantial corporate numbers will remain challenged until transport links to the area improve.

Where in the world are Bangkok luxury hotels heading?

To sum up 2019, size and location matter, the shift on food and beverage and social events along with niches like wellness and  smaller meetings/weddings are the key to the future. As for the quantum leap in rates, it’s about time Bangkok hoteliers be confident and push rates towards a more global norm.

Bangkok luxury poised to push through the US$300 ceiling | News by The Thaiger

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