" As the year draws to a close I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support for the Chamber and your fellow members. It has been quite a tumultuous year for businesses; however, we continue to push ahead and weather the storms together.
The year has been defined by the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a deeply saddening occasion that we share with the Thai people. As a Chamber we recognise the enormous contribution the late King made to his country and the impact of his passing on the Thai people. We also welcome His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun to the throne and wish him the wisdom and strength to build upon the good works of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Throughout 2016 your Chamber has continued to represent the interests of our members. While not always visible to our members, our advocacy committee has worked tirelessly with various Thai ministries and the Board of Trade to highlight the opportunities and lessen the challenges we all face. Trade barriers, education, duties and excise, customs policy and regional distribution have all been on the agenda this year, and were highlighted as key themes in our Thailand and ASEAN business surveys. Where possible we have coordinated our efforts with the Australian Embassy and we are thankful for their continued support.
A major role of your Chamber is to provide you with opportunities to network and build all-important relationships. Our Sundowners remains an unrivaled monthly networking event, and this year we augmented this with the return of the Australia Day Ball and the Alumni Annual Awards. Along with the numerous business briefings, we hope that you noticed the increase in networking opportunities through 2016.
Of course we couldn't do this without the support of our sponsors who provided such sterling support during a difficult year. Whether hoteliers, food suppliers or members who stump up the hard dollars, we extend our thanks and I ask you support them in every way possible. It is through the support from our members that we can continue to attract such great sponsors.
Together with our sponsors, our members are our greatest benefactors and we continue to see new membership applications coming to us directly as a result of your referrals. Member referrals are the best endorsement of the value we strive to bring as your Chamber, and they are a significant support to our other marketing efforts. Please do continue!
Finally, the Chamber continued its commitment to the community through 2016. You should have recently received a survey identifying worthy charities that the Chamber will fund or support in other ways. All are worthy projects and have an Australian element that we can be proud of. Australians globally have an exemplary record in CSR and we are sure there are many Australian companies and expatriates in Thailand who are doing more than we know. These efforts deserve to be highlighted in our various publications and assets, and the Chamber would like to hear what you or your companies are doing in terms of CSR.
The Board of Directors of AustCham are continually working to make the Chamber relevant to you, particularly during this difficult time. We are always open to your thoughts and recommendations, and I encourage you to let us know directly how we can make your Chamber better.
On behalf of my Directors and our small team of busy staff at the Chamber’s office, I would like to wish you and your family a joyous Christmas and New Year, and our best wishes for 2017. "