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  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 16:10 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Malaysia Airlines partners with Amadeus for new chatbot

    Malaysia Airlines has launched MHchat, a new feature which helps travellers’ book flights and pay through the popular social media app, Facebook Messenger.

    Jointly developed with Malaysia Airlines as its pilot customer, the Amadeus Chatbot for Airlines is a new solution designed to make it easier for travellers to book flights, retrieve bookings, and ask questions through a social media messaging platform customers are already familiar with.

    On Facebook Messenger, Malaysia Airlines’ customers can use MHchat if they want to look up flights, or ask a question related to a booking, and it will search, locate and push offers or information using artificial intelligence.

    Travelers can even complete a transaction, make a secure payment and receive the travel itinerary all within the same app.

    Izham Ismail, chief executive, Malaysia Airlines, said: “Customer experience is a key priority for Malaysia Airlines and we are deeply committed to constantly improving it. 

    “Our digital transformation strategy lies at the heart of this, as we continuously harness new and innovative technologies to enhance all touchpoints for our guests. 

    “We are pleased to partner with Amadeus on the launch of MHchat, and we are excited to be the first in Malaysia to bring this to travellers.

    “We were very pleased with Amadeus’ ability to deliver this innovative solution within the short timeframe of a few months.

    “We look forward to further exploring how we can deliver more personalized and integrated services for our customers.”

    The Amadeus Chatbot can be customised for any airline, delivering higher customer satisfaction, and more revenue opportunities as well as cost-savings around customer care.

    Cyril Tetaz, executive vice president, airlines, Asia Pacific, Amadeus, said: “We are very delighted to work with Malaysia Airlines on its digital transformation; MHchat is a testimony to the airline’s commitment to evolve its digital channels.

    “Agility is crucial when working on innovative digital solutions, and working together with Malaysian Airlines, we have delivered this innovative platform in three months. 

    “Many airlines are embarking on turnaround transformation initiatives, driven by a real will to address competition but above all to improve the customer experience.”

    Source :

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 16:02 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Best Mid-Range Hotel Brand Award for Best Western Hotels 12 Years in Row

    Best Western Hotels and Resorts has continued its incredible winning streak at the TTG Travel Awards, receiving the title as Asia’s “Best Mid-Range Hotel Brand” for an amazing 12th year in a row!

    The hotel group picked up this prestigious title at the 29th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2018, which included a major celebratory ceremony and gala dinner in Bangkok on Thursday September 20, 2018. The winners were voted for by the readers of TTG Asia, the region’s leading travel trade magazine, and its sister publications.

    Best Western has now won the title of Asia’s “Best Mid-Range Hotel Brand” every year since 2007, reflecting the quality of the company’s midscale hotels and how well respected the brand is among Asia’s travel trade.

    “We are thrilled to win the ‘Best Mid-Range Hotel Brand’ award once again. We have expanded our brand portfolio considerably in recent years, now operating 11 distinct brands in a range of different market segments. But we remain extremely proud of our midscale roots, so it is gratifying to know that our travel trade partners still identify us as the industry’s leading midscale hotel brand,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western’s Managing Director of International Operations – Asia.

    “Best Western has always appreciated and worked closely with the travel trade. Our travel agency partners are the best ambassadors a company could wish to have; they understand our products, respect our brand and promote us effectively to their clients. We are delighted with their continued support,” Olivier added.

    Best Western has expanded rapidly in recent years and now offers 11 distinct brandconcepts that are perfectly suited to the needs of Asia’s new generation of travelers. These include three soft brands – BW Premier Collection® by Best Western, BW Signature Collection® by Best Western, and SureStay Collection® by Best Western – and Vīb®, the trendy millennial boutique hotel concept.

    These exciting new concepts are already being rolled out across Asia. The region’s first SureStay hotel opened in Thailand last year and BW Premier Collection by Best Western is now welcoming guests in Japan and Thailand. Vīb will make its Asian debut later this year, and Best Western recently signed the region’s first BW Signature Collection by Best Western hotel.

    The company is also expanding its geographical presence, with a series of new openings in exciting emerging destinations such as Phu Quoc in Vietnam and Bohol in The Philippines.
    “Best Western is currently embarking on one of the most significant periods of expansion in our 72-year history. With such an exceptional collection of brands, exciting new destinations and fantastic new hotels now rising all across Asia, we look forward to introducing even more guests to Asia’s ‘Best Mid-Range Hotel Brand’ in the years to come,” Olivier concluded.

    Source :

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 15:42 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Business optimism surges across ASEAN, while Thailand looks for reassurances

    • ASEAN outlook hits new records, with a 64% optimism rate among business surveyed in the region

    • Global business optimism remains healthy at 54%, down from all-time high 0f 61% in Q1

    • Business optimism in Thailand down to 2% mainly due to a general shift toward neutral responses, while most other indicators show positive signs

    • Concerns remain over US exchange rates and a potential slowing of employment growth

    Business leaders across ASEAN are showing historic levels of general optimism in Q2 2018 at net 64%, above the global average of 54%, according to a new Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) conducted in Q2 2018 (Refer to figure 1).

    In Malaysia, business optimism has leapt 24pp to net 52% in Q2, while in the Philippines it has increased 8pp to net 82%. Indonesian businesses remain overwhelmingly optimistic at net 98% – the highest among the countries surveyed. The new high in ASEAN is the culmination of four quarters of consecutive growth in optimism and reflects greater regional economic cooperation in recent years following the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

    Furthermore, the IMF is forecasting over 5% growth in ASEAN GDP from 2018 through to 2023, increasing slightly from 5.3% in 2018 to 5.5% in 2023. Optimism rates are undoubtedly pushed upwards by the continued growth of China, a close trading partner for many of the region’s economies.

    Despite broad-based optimism, concerns are on the horizon

    The IBR also finds that behind this business confidence lies a threat. There are growing concerns among ASEAN businesses about exchange rate fluctuations, driven by the prospect of further US Federal Reserve rate rises this year and beyond into 2019.

    Indeed, the proportion of ASEAN business leaders citing exchange rate fluctuations as a constraint on their ability to grow sits at 36%. This is a sharp increase from 29% in Q1 and 26% in Q4 2017. In the Philippines, these concerns have increased by 8pp this quarter, in Singapore by 14pp and in Malaysia by 18pp.

    Ian Pascoe, CEO and Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, remarked on fears that movement in the US exchange rate could disrupt business in Southeast Asia. “If that is the case, then companies can hedge their bets here also,” he said. “They can lock in a static exchange rate for the time being, or they can decide now what their plans will be in the event of a rate change – whether they will choose to absorb the extra costs, or if those will be passed on to customers. This way, they can prepare in advance for market tremors, and dilute the impact considerably.”

    In addition, exchange rates are not the only potential drag on confidence, as explained by Pascoe, “It’s worth considering that employment expectations are falling across the region as well. The current numbers show that only 31% of respondents predict an increase in the near term. That’s down 6pp from Q1, and is the lowest number we’ve seen since the end of 2016. This reveals a more complex picture in the region despite its record optimism score.”

    A split in outlook across ASEAN and a closer look at Thailand data

    Despite the overall increase in ASEAN business optimism, in Singapore it decreased slightly from net 34% to net 32% and in Thailand from net 16% to net 2% (Refer to Figure 2). However, the low optimism numbers in Thailand seem to disguise a more positive trend. The responses from “very pessimistic” participants dropped from 8% overall to 2% since Q1, and the number of neutral (“neither optimistic nor pessimistic”) responses grew from 48% to 58% over the same period (Refer to Figure 3).

    “Such trends are natural when big changes are taking place,” stressed Khun Teerasak Chuasrisakul, Partner at Grant Thornton, referring to Thailand’s transformation to its 4.0 model. “When you get into the real data, you see a clear move toward neutral responses. There are fewer people reporting optimism, yes – but when you compare the pessimistic side of Q2 versus Q1, you can also see a shift toward the centre of the spectrum. It may be that businesses want to hedge their bets until they see how the wider economy will develop. The Thai government has announced plenty of business incentives, educational initiatives, infrastructure improvements – and businesses want to see results before they make a full commitment.”

    In addition, a closer look at the responses by Thai business leaders shows significant improvements in most other areas. Expectation surrounding revenue, exports, R&D, and technology investment all saw double-digit improvement among respondents in Thailand.

    A range of constraint indexes including shortage of finance, economic uncertainty, and inadequate ICT infrastructure showed decreasing figures, which also suggests a positive outlook for the country. Meanwhile, regulations and red tape, as well as a lack of skilled workers, represented the main challenges for most businesses in Thailand.

    Khun Teerasak also added, “We have long known that the bureaucratic aspects of Thailand would be an issue in the runup to Thailand 4.0. The speed of economic development has also presented a challenge to educational institutions as they try to quickly prepare the younger generation for participation in an advanced economy. The good news is that businesses are gaining confidence in the new economy, helped along by better access to finance and an improved ICT infrastructure that will pay dividends in the coming years.”


    Source :

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 15:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PKF Thailand officially launched PKF Eastern Seaboard 

    On Friday 6th July, independent member firm PKF Thailand officially launched “PKF Eastern Seaboard” becoming the only global accounting firm with an active branch in the Eastern Seaboard. The launch was attended by guest speaker Khun Suwatana Kmolwatananisa - Deputy Governor responsible for Strategy and Development of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, local business executives and press, and also John Sim - Global CEO of PKF International. 

    PKF’s Eastern Seaboard branch is staffed by experts living locally that have a strong understanding of the unique and specific requirements of businesses and individuals who are based in this exciting and dynamic region of Thailand. These experts have access to PKF’s extensive global network of over 400 offices operating in 150 countries across five regions. Providing global expertise, delivered locally.

    In her presentation at the launch on the "Current Status and Opportunities in the EEC" Khun Suwatana commented on the significant opportunity in the region especially since the 2018 Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Act was published in the Royal Gazette in May. She highlighted the main changes in the various laws and demonstrated how this would help grow the 10 targeted industries across the 3 main provinces of the EEC.

    Andrew McBean, CEO of PKF Thailand added “The area covered by the Eastern Economic Corridor is about 13,000 square kilometers – about the size of Montenegro in Europe or Connecticut in the US. The GDP per capita in Chonburi is already nearly the same as Bangkok Metropolis, supported by existing investments in manufacturing in the province. This will further increase substantially with investments of $45bn across ten targeted industrial and commercial sectors in the 3 provinces of the EEC. We are very excited about the significant opportunities in the Eastern Seaboard and the Eastern Economic Corridor. Businesses that invest here will expect global quality and for it to be delivered locally. We are investing in local skills that will deliver services with global standards to businesses in the region".

    The launch celebrations were held at the InterContinental Pattaya Resort. PKF’s Eastern Seaboard Branch can be found in South Pattaya Road in Pattaya, Chonburi. 

    For more information visit

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 15:14 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The agreement to establish “AMATA University” 

    On 6th August 2018 at Rajavallop Building, Ministry of Education, Dr. Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Minister of Education and Mr. Vikrom Kromadit, Chief Executive Officer of AMATA Corporation PCL and AMATA University’s license holder, have signed the agreement to establish “AMATA University” at AMATA City Chonburi, the 1st license under the new initiative of Thai Ministry of Education to improve education in the EEC area of Thailand.

    Under the agreement, AMATA University will initiate the collaboration with National Taiwan University to open Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.) program focusing on intelligence manufacturing system which is expected to contribute greatly on the development of EEC area where most of the biggest industrial players are located. This initiative is the strategic move, leading by Thai Government together with private sector and international education partners, which will be one of the key development models to achieve the goal of Thailand 4.0 

    Dr. Teerakiat has pointed out the importance of private sector involvement in developing human resource in EEC area and re state the important of these special educational regulations under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of Thai Government which allows foreign educational institutions, both higher education and undergraduate level, to set up and operate in the EEC area.

    AMATA University is the part of AMATA’s strategic project namely “AMATA EDUTown”, The World class University Town where AMATA will coordinate with different international Top-rank Educational partners on different selected area of expertise (starting with National University of Taiwan) and working closely with more than 1,300 companies within AMATA City. Currently, there are 6 educational institutions already in operation in AMATA City and more than 20 R&D facilities that operate by AMATA’s partners and customers. The area where AMATA EDUTown is located will be started the construction within the 2nd half of 2019.

    “With more than 300,000 people working in AMATA’s area, the location and the conditions of AMATA City Chonburi is one the best in ASEAN to set up the University Town, AMATA EDUTown, where educational sector can be working closely with industrial sector and sharing the common amenities that suitable for learning environment. AMATA Corporation and its subsidiaries can provide the basic infrastructure and supporting facilities with quick-entry and light-access collaboration model to any potential educational partners that working in AMATA EDUTown area”, said Mr. Vikrom Kromadit.

    source :

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 14:55 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Asian Legal Business M&A Rankings 2018

    Congratulations to our Asia Pacific M&A teams for being ranked Tier 1 in seven out of 12 Asian jurisdictions in the region by the Asian Legal Business (ALB). The research is based on the firms' presence and profile across Asia; key clients and new client wins; volume, complexity and size of work; key personnel hires; and practice group growth. The firm was also ranked Tier 2 in four other jurisdictions. Read ALB's cover story on the rankings here.

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lights, camera … Thai innovators take action, disrupting video marketing

    OVER THE LAST decade, video has taken the internet by storm. Now Thailand-based video content creation platform, Crave Asia, is brewing its own storm.

    In a modern world in which YouTube has become Google’s dynamic all-the-bells-and-whistles younger search-engine brother -- and in our multi-screen lives -- the relevance of video has evolved tremendously. Online video content is no longer purely for entertainment.

    Creating a successful marketing strategy in today’s online environment must include video. Businesses big and small are using it for promotion and education, and customers are watching on smartphones, tablets and computers.

    They are viewing on all of the social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, pre-roll YouTube ads, Snapchat content, Netflix ads and website landing pages

    According to US-based online video platform Brightcove, social video is what people want. Businesses would all be well-advised to create engaging video experiences.

    Brightcove claims that three-quarters of consumers who watch social video make a purchasing decision based on that video and are more likely to recommend that company. Consequently; it is important to get it right.

    However, ror smaller businesses video marketing can seem intimidating.

    Australian Raine Grady, who has more 25 years experience in TV and video production at the helm of Thailand’s Capital Television, saw a need for cost effective and easy to use video solutions. She established a new ‘disruptive’ video content creation agency called Crave Asia, which, in partnership with the video creation tool Binumi, is both affordable and manageable.  

    “We live in the age of video and every business has a story to tell,” Ms Grady said. “Video is one of the most exciting mediums to do so because it tells a story in a way that text and photos can’t compete with.

    “It is predicted to reach 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2020. It is exciting to be able to enable everyone to bring their business narrative to life, and to do so while offering an attractive RoI.”


    The Binumi video tool used by Crave Asia was created by media tech entrepreneur and former National Geographic filmmaker Anthony Copping. It allows its partners to scale their video marketing quickly and inexpensively for fast turn around social media and event promotion.

    The unique aspect of the tool is a massive royalty-free footage and music library from around 50 countries. Clients also get access to templates, edit effects and utilise cloud storage.

    There is no limit on how many videos can be made each year.

    Thailand-based marketing and commercial sponsorship business founder Paul Poole counts himself as a devotee of Crave Asia’s capabilities.

    “We subscribe to Crave Asia’s rights-free content library and creation tool,” Mr Poole said. “This allows us to edit existing promotional videos and materials into a short mpeg and/or windows media files.

    “This is an excellent way of bringing offers to life, massively aiding sales drive and giving an audio visual flavor to the offers.”

    The cloud-based platform allows videos to be added onto landing pages that can be shared out direct to customers via e-mail, SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

    “When I saw what Anthony was creating with Binumi I realised this was the future of marketing,” Mr Poole said.

    “She (Crave’s Raine Grady) added my own content library into his platform and is now working in partnership with Binumi to bring this solution to a wide diversity of businesses.”

    Another big advantage he noted was that existing staff members could become an in-house digital marketing resource, able to represent the business, brand, and voice as employees “with just a little training”.


    Videos are everywhere and their dynamic ‘feed me information quickly appeal’ is in-synch with today’s audiences that have increasingly shorter attention spans.

    Unique, engaging content is the key to effective video that holds viewers’ attention and motivation to take action.

    Fashion and jewellery designer, Matthew Campbell Laurenza said, “Photos are great, but videos bring my jewellery to life like nothing else can. I love it.”

    Crave’s Ms Grady said most users also rapidly discovered what a time saver the platform can become.

    “Of course the one commodity no one has is unlimited time,” she said. “To this end we can also create storyboards, film, and edit stories that can be quickly re-purposed as needed.”


  • Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Following the overwhelming success of Multihull Solution’s Out-of-Water Boat Show on the Gold Coast, the company is set to replicate the facility at its New Zealand Sales Centre in late 2018.

    The purpose-built year-round Out-of-Water Boat Show will be based at Marsden Cove Marina in Whangarei and will offer boat sellers premium display space to showcase their vessel to a strong audience of local and international buyers.

    The facility is also conveniently located at a New Zealand Customs Clearance site making it extremely appealing for international cruisers to sell their vessel in Whangarei once they have completed their cruising adventures.

    The Out-of-Water Boat Show will have a team of multihull specialists on hand to facilitate all aspects of the sales process, making it an easy and stress-free process for clients. Professional maintenance and cleaning packages are available to ensure each vessel is in pristine condition for buyers to inspect.

    The Out-of-Water Boat Show concept allows sellers to showcase their boat for sale in a premium display space incurring less wear and tear on the vessel than traditional marina sales berths. The facility is professionally operated and located in a secure fully-fenced venue with convenient access to comprehensive shipyard facilities for any maintenance or repair work.

    Multihull Solutions’ New Zealand Out-of-Water Boat Show will provide an extremely affordable and effective means for clients to successfully sell their multihull with rates at half the price of a regular marina berth. Buyers can inspect an extensive range of multihulls for sale from hull to interior on the hard in one convenient location with easy access for surveyors to conduct inspections prior to purchase.

    Multihull Solutions is offering a special offer for new listings at its Out-of-Water Boat Show with 30 per cent off regular display rates.

    Further information on the new Out-of-Water Boat Show in New Zealand can be obtained by contacting Multihull Solutions on 1300 855 338 or +61 7 5452 5164 (within Australia),  +64 (0) 9 432 7032 (within New Zealand) or emailing 

  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018 16:32 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    BHMA managing director Kent Davidson said the agreement would mark the company’s first foray into the popular resort island.

    “Phuket is an extremely popular travel destination and one of the main growth destinations for FCTG’s expansion strategy. This property is a natural fit for the X2 Vibe brand and for BHMA group,” Davidson said.

    Ideally located only a few short steps from Patong beach and within easy access of the centre of Patong’s dining and entertainment district, the hotel provides smart contemporary accommodation and amenities for modern travellers.

    It features 131 rooms and five villas, a restaurant and bar, spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, boutique shop, library, meeting room and tour desk.

    The new location brings BHMA’s X2 Vibe hotel portfolio to seven properties, and 27 total locations across the X2 Resorts, X2 Vibe Hotels and Away Resorts brands.

    It follows the launch of BHMA’s first Vietnam property, X2 Vibe Viet Tri Hotel, last month.

    Davidson said the new management agreement fulfilled the company’s stated objective of entering the Phuket market.

    “We are now working hard on entering other critical markets such as Bali, Fiji, Queensland and the Maldives,’’ he said.

    BHMA CEO Peter Lucas said the X2 Vibe Phuket Patong would offer visitors a distinctive, design-oriented resort, great location and the ability to enjoy social engagement with the destination.

    “We’re excited to see BHMA expanding into new destinations on top of our existing locations across Thailand, Australia and Vietnam,’’ he said.

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 16:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     Ms. Luckrada Lucksanawimol as New Regional Director Sales - Asia

    Ms Luckrada, or “Annie” as she is better known, brings an impressive set of skills to Best Western. Having achieved a Master’s Degree in International Business Management from Stamford International University, she has held senior sales and management roles for a series of major hotels and resorts, both at property and head office levels.

    Her experience includes serving as Director of Sales at B-Lay Tong Phuket, during the time it was operated by AccorHotels as part of the MGallery Collection; and serving as Director of Sales for the former dusitD2 Patong Resort, which was managed by Dusit International. She was also Cluster Director of Sales for Bangkok-based BHMAsia, overseeing 17 properties in Thailand and beyond.

    And most recently, Khun Annie was Executive Assistant Manager at B-Lay Tong Phuket, having returned to the property in 2017.

    She now embarks on the latest chapter in her career as Regional Director Sales for Best Western, with responsibility for the company’s expanding portfolio of hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia and Japan.

    “Khun Annie is a confident, charming and forward-thinking person and a highly-skilled hospitality professional. Not only does she have extensive experience of sales, but she has also been involved in hotel operations at senior management level, giving her a deep understanding of the industry. We are delighted to have her onboard our dynamic team, and I am sure that her talent and expertise will be great assets to our entire company,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western’s Managing Director of International Operations – Asia.

    “I am thrilled to be joining to Best Western, which is one of the most famous names in the hotel industry. This is a very exciting time for the company, with many fantastic new hotels and innovative brands being launched in Asia. I look forward to working with the entire team and helping Best Western to achieve even more success in the future,” Khun Annie commented.

    A Thai national, Khun Annie is a keen scuba diver with a PADI open water certificate. She also enjoys travel and photography, landscape and interior design, swimming, reading and art.

    She will now be based at Best Western’s Asia head office in Bangkok. To contact Khun Annie, please email

Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

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