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Member News provides news about AustCham member achievements and announcements
  • Thursday, October 11, 2018 13:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)




    SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving named 2018 APAC Relocation Management Company of the Year

    Honor announced at the annual APAC Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs) put on by the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM)

    CHICAGO, IL (September 11th, 2018) – SIRVA, Inc., the leading global relocation and moving service provider, won Relocation Management Company of the Year at the 2018 FEM APAC EMMAs. The FEM EMMAs are the premier awards for the global mobility and International HR industry. Additionally, SIRVA received Runner Up for ‘Best Vendor Partnership’ for their collaboration with Petronas.

    The judges commented on SIRVA’s entry saying, “SIRVA has demonstrated its strong commitment to continuously improving its service quality and standards.”

    SIRVA has taken strides to show that Global mobility is not always a cost center. SIRVA helps clients achieve significant reduction in relocation spend through in-depth analysis and streamlined service delivery.

    “We are incredibly honored and humbled to be given this award,” said Jacob George, President of Asia and the Middle East at SIRVA. “It’s a validation of the hard work the team does each and every day and a recognition of our continued journey to deliver the world class service that our clients have come to expect from us.”

    The award ceremony took place in Singapore on September 6th, 2018.

    About FEM 
    FEM is a real-world and online community for the global mobility and HR industry. Our mission is to distill best practice across regions, industries and functions while providing valuable networking opportunities for knowledge sharing and program support. Through our multi-platform of content and events, we encourage dialogue and enable mobility professionals to unite, learn and grow. FEM holds annual Summits and EMMAs awards ceremonies in the Americas, APAC (Asia Pacific region) and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) as well as Conferences in Amsterdam, Australia and Houston. FEM also has a worldwide network of more than 40 Chapters, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Tel Aviv, Zurich. 

    Source : https://www.sirva.com/en-us/about-sirva/news/

  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 15:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)






    BHMA APPOINTS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT COMMERCIAL – PAUL WILSON


    Flight Centre Travel Group’s hotels and accommodation business BHMA has announced the appointment of experienced international hotelier Paul Wilson to the position of Executive Vice President Commercial.

    Offering extensive commercial experience leading major brands across the Asia Pacific, London, South Africa and Australia, Mr. Wilson will oversee sales, revenue, distribution, ecommerce and marketing communications for BHMA.

    Prior to joining BHMA, Mr. Wilson was vice president of sales, revenue and distribution for Thailand’s largest hotel brand, Centara Hotels & Resorts where he was in charge of 16 global offices, 11 national account managers, property DOS teams and the company’s revenue and distribution structure.

    Mr. Wilson has also worked as regional sales & marketing director and national conference & incentive director for the Australian Mantra Group and meeting and events director for Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts in London.

    He said he was looking forward to applying his vast international experience to deliver on BHMA’s growth aspirations.

    “This is a tremendously exciting time for luxury travel. BMHA is a driving-force in redefining the luxury market and I am deeply privileged to join the team with a shared vision of delivering unprecedented growth, success and winning culture.

    “Working cross-culturally is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role, and I’ve been proud to identify and build lasting relationships with the best players in each region. I look forward to continuing this work and welcoming a new era of truly distinctive travel with BHMA,” Mr. Wilson said.

    Managing Director of BHMA, Kent Davidson, said the company would benefit strongly from Mr. Wilson’s commercial leadership experience.

    “We are very excited to welcome Paul to this new position for BHMA, where he will be part of the senior executive team.

    “This is a critical role for the company as we progress our exciting and challenging growth objectives, and one for which Paul is very well equipped,’’ he said.

    BHMA CEO Peter Lucas said Mr. Wilson was a natural fit for the company.

    “Paul has an excellent track record of success in all aspects of commercial hotel operations across the globe which will be huge benefit for BHMA in our expansion phase,’’ he said.

    This appointment is effective from 3rd October 2018.


    Source : https://bhmahotels.com/




  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 10:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)





    OPPORTUNITIES IN DOWNTOWN BANGKOK RESIDENTIAL RENTAL MARKET


    The downtown residential rental market in Bangkok is driven by expatriate tenants working in Thailand who want to rent in a limited number of areas and mainly choose either apartments, rental units in a condominium or a serviced apartment, according to CBRE, an international property consultancy company.

    Expatriate numbers are only growing at a slow rate and there has been no increase for many years in the average monthly budgets that these tenants are willing to spend on rent.

    There are only a few new apartments under construction, but many new condominiums, according to CBRE Research.

    The increase in supply and limited growth in demand means that the market is competitive, but there are still opportunities for both apartment developers and buy-to-rent condominium investors. The key factor is to understand tenant requirements so that investors can maximise their occupancy and rent per square metre.

    There is a constant turnover of expatriate tenants as the average length of stay in Thailand is about three years so each new incoming tenant makes a fresh decision about where they want to live

    The latest survey by CBRE Research in Q2 2018 shows that there are about 10,000 single-ownership muti-family apartment units in the most popular expatriate rental locations of Sukhumvit, Lumpini and Sathorn.  There are around 76,000 condominiums in the same areas and CBRE Research estimates that about 25,000 - 30,000 of these are owned by investors who are renting out their units.

    There is still a preference, especially from Japanese tenants, for single-ownership apartments rather than multi-ownership condominiums because they like the ability to talk to the owners’ representative about all aspects of maintenance.  In a condominium, the property manager is only responsible for maintenance of the common areas and it is the individual owners’ responsibility to maintain the interior of the unit. It is more challenging for tenants to get things fixed inside a condominium unit.

    In Bangkok, few condominium owners use a managing agent to look after their unit and deal with all tenant issues. A condominium tenant must directly contact the owner about all issues relating to the inside of the unit and the ability of an individual owner to quickly arrange maintenance or repairs is mixed depending on their experience and is especially challenging for overseas owners. Only in some cases where the condominium managed by hotel and provide concierge services, the owner will have to pay the premium common area management fee, the property management will assist to do maintenance issue in the unit.

    Apartment developers who build in preferred locations and understand tenant requirements continue to be successful, achieving high occupancy and good rental rates.

    Mr. Theerathorn Prapunpong, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services - Residential Leasing at CBRE Thailand, has advised developers of two recent apartment projects on the design and specification of their developments and acted as sole leasing agent.

    Piya Residence on Sukhumvit Soi 28 and 30 was completed in Q1 2018.  The developer optimized the units’ layout and size to maximise the functionality and the rental per square metre.  More than 60% of the units have been leased.

    Chani Residence on Sukhumvit Thonglor Soi 13 was completed in 2017 and has been designed to match Japanese tenants’ requirements and is now more than 70% leased.

    Both these buildings have a mixture of mainly two and three-bedroom units for which there is still a high level of demand because many of the rental units in new condominiums are one-bedroom units.

    Mr. Theerathorn has advised on another development, Jittimon Residence on Sukhumvit Thonglor Soi 16 which will be ready for occupation in early 2019.  The eight-storey building will have a range of units from one to three bedrooms and its unique selling points are the low density and large garden, which are unique features in a market where most developers maximise the plot ratio.

    One of the most important factors in determining the success of a rental apartment project is to match tenants’ requirements on size, layout, specification, location and facilities.

    “CBRE’s ability to provide apartment developers with practical advice is due to our real market data based on over 1,000 expatriate tenant lettings over the last three years.  Knowing what tenants want and how much they will spend,” added Mr. Theerathorn.

    The Central Business District residential rental market is going to continue to remain competitive and owners of existing apartment buildings and individual owners of condominiums need to maintain and renovate interiors and common areas to ensure their properties remain attractive to tenants.



  • Friday, September 28, 2018 12:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)





    “K PARK”, a new form of lifestyle space for suburban communities

           KBank unveils the first K PARK on Hathairat 33 Road by teaming up with three business giants, namely, PTT (PTT gas station and Café Amazon), SCG Express and Amarin Printing and Publishing to open a new lifestyle space which offers delightful experiences to every lifestyle. Customers using services at K PARK can use KBank digital-based financial transaction services and deliver service of SCG Express, while enjoying aromatic beverages from Café Amazon and indulging themselves with E-Books and print copies of recommended publication selected by Naiin at Naiin Corner’s Digital Shelf free of charge. Customers can also make an online order via NAIINPANN application and www.naiin.com. Featuring a common area for lounging, workshops and seminars, K PARK on Hathairat 33 Road opens every day from 8.30 a.m.- 8.00 p.m. and offers financial transaction services from 10.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.

          Special promotions to celebrate K PARK launch, customers opening KBank saving account and applying for K PLUS service will receive a Café Amazon Cash Card worth THB100 for free from October 1, 2018 until December 31, 2018 or while supplies last.  Also, customers using SCG EXPRESS delivery service will receive discount up to THB20 when they make QR Code payment via K PLUS at K PARK in PTT Saeng Aree Station on  Hathairat 33 Road from September 25 to October 31, 2018.


    Source : https://www.kasikornbank.com/

  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 16:48 | Anonymous member (Administrator)






    Fit and Firm withVistra Sports Exclusive Party 2018at Lancaster Bangkok


    Lancaster Bangkok was honoured to be chosen as venue for the “Vistra Sport Exclusive Party 2018”organised by Vistra Sports, the leader of nutrition for sport and exercise. The party brings all guests to join activity exclusively with Coach Micky-Nont Alrapach Na Pompetch and Khun Art Pasut who are Vistra Sports ambassadors.  Guests will also have opportunity to gain work out tips & tricks, healthy food knowledge and being a part of the non-stop energy that will lift up work out game and transform health and fitness into a part of daily lifestyle.

     

    For reservations and more information, please call Tel. +66 (0) 2252 6890, info@lancasterbangkok.com, www.lancasterbangkok.com or become a fan at www.facebook.com/lancasterbangkok


  • Wednesday, September 26, 2018 16:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)





    How balance leads to top results


    Two students from the Class of 2018, Jisoo Yoon (Sue) and Seung Won Paek, from International School Bangkok (ISB), scored a full score of 45 points on their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (DP). This exceptional achievement places them within a small percentage of students globally to manage this challenging feat. They did this even though taking four Higher Level subjects as opposed to the usual three as required by the IB.

    A total of 20 students at ISB scored over 40 points, including another two students who earned 44 overall points. The average score globally for the IB DP is 300 points, but ISB students far surpassed this number for yet another year, with an average of 35. Accomplishments such as these require a considerable amount of focus and hard work, but Sue and Seung Won cited the importance of maintaining balance in their lives.

    “The score came to me as a huge surprise,” said Seung Won, echoing sentiments expressed by Sue. Both students credited their success in part to their positive and engaging experience with extra-curricular activities, in addition to standard classwork. “Most people think of activities as another burden on top of academics, but I think it’s just the opposite,” Sue said. “Participating in activities I loved, like music, gave me the energy and motivation to work hard academically as well.”



    Seung Won added that it was essential to maintain a responsible balance between schoolwork and extra activities. “Time management was key to my success,” he said. “I was forced to manage my time wisely so that I could complete all the work I had in a limited amount of time.”

    As well as being Class Representative for Student Council, Sue participated as a singer for the Interscholastic Association for Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) Cultural Convention for all four years of high school, served as President of VOX A Cappella Club, performed in musical theater, and volunteered with the Helping Paws Club for stray dogs.

    Seung Won, another long-time member of the Student Council, served as President of his class since his sophomore year. He belonged to clubs such as the Global Issues Network and High School Tech, played on the varsity basketball and volleyball team, and organized special events for students.


    Students like Sue and Seung Won used these activities to stay focused during the year. After mentioning the difficulty of long hours studying, Seung Won explained what kept him going. “Luckily, I had many outlets through which I could relieve my stress: sports, music, and most importantly — friends and family. As much as I studied, I made sure that I was always had time to chill and refresh my brain,” he said. These activities also created a space for friendships to develop, and the school experience to take on a greater meaning. Seung Won encourages all students to maintain balance in their lives. “Through different classes, clubs and sports teams here at ISB, I was able to meet so many amazing people who have had a significant impact in my life,” he said.

    Sue agreed, saying, “I am immensely grateful that at ISB I was able to pursue my non-academic passions without sacrificing any academic opportunities.”

    Seung Won will be attending Stanford University in the fall and Sue has received a number of acceptances to top universities in South Korea. They were together with some other friends from ISB in Seoul when they heard the IB results.

    Their scores and all round achievements are part of another hugely successful year at ISB, with the school continuing to outperform many others worldwide. Read more about ISB’s overall results here.


  • 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 : http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/


  • 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 : https://travelcommunication.net/


  • 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 : https://www.grantthornton.co.th

  • 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 www.pkfthailand.asia.



Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce

20 Floor, Unit 203, Thai CC Tower
43 South Sathorn Road   ·   Bangkok Thailand 10120

Tel: +66 2 210 0216   ·   Fax: +66 2 675 6696   ·   office@austchamthailand.com

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