Advance Blog

January 10, 2023
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 5 January 2023

KEY ISSUES AT A GLANCE

  • PM expects to join United Thai Nation Party formally on Jan 9th. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to apply formally for membership of the United Thai Nation Party (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) on Monday January 9th at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. They added that several MPs who quit Palang Pracharath, the ruling government coalition party, will be at the event to welcome their new party member. The event will start at about 5pm, after government office hours. Source: Thai PBS World, The Standard
  • Government pilots BCG industrial estates in Rayong and Lumpoon provinces to draw investments in new economy. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has designated 2 industrial estates, comprising a 1,482-rai estate in the EEC’s Rayong province and 653-rai estate in northern Thailand’s Lampoon province that will focus on sustainable, community-friendly and low-carbon developments. The IEAT also reported a 65.1 percent YoY increase in revenue in the first 9 months of 2022 from leasing its industrial estates to investors, particularly investments in the EV sector. For 2023, IEAT will develop the third phase of the Map Ta Phut port, the Smart Park industrial estate, a Special Economic Zone in Sa Kaew province and industrial estates in Songkla and Tak provinces. Source: Thansettakij Print Edition

AUSTRALIA IN THE NEWS

  • No significant announcements.

GENERAL

  • Measures on Chinese Visitors Expected Today. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said measures to welcome Chinese visitors would be concluded without any discrimination today and they would be advised to buy health insurance. The measures would be based on guidelines from an academic committee under the Communicable Disease Act and experts and be free of any political pressure. There would not be any discrimination and visitors from all countries would be treated in the same manner, Mr Anutin said. Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said Chinese travelers would initially form about 5% of visitors and most of them would be businesspeople and students, not big groups of tourists. Source: Thai News Agency

POLITICS

  • PM expects to join United Thai Nation Party formally on Jan 9th. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to apply formally for membership of the United Thai Nation Party (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) on Monday January 9th at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. They added that several MPs who quit Palang Pracharath, the ruling government coalition party, will be at the event to welcome their new party member. The event will start at about 5pm, after government office hours. Source: Thai PBS World, The Standard
  • Pheu Thai to ‘unmask’ PM, cleanse ‘contamination’ late this month. Ruling coalition and opposition whips agreed in principle on Wednesday to hold a general debate late this month during which the opposition plans to attack the administration Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said. The House’s legal officials affirmed that the opposition motion calling for the debate is legal, so he will put the debate on the House’s agenda soon, Chuan said. On December 28, the opposition submitted a motion seeking to hold a general debate in Parliament on Prayut’s government, with Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew saying the opposition plans to “unmask” him ahead of the next election and cleanse the country of the “contamination” he has caused. Source: The Nation
  • Joint Gulf plan moves closer. The government is set to go ahead with a long-awaited joint development of petroleum resources in an energy-rich area in the Gulf of Thailand claimed by Thailand and Cambodia, according to government sources. The sources said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon had pushed for new talks on the matter with Cambodia for years. Both sides discussed possible cooperation to make use of energy resources in the overlapping claim area (OCA) as a solution to energy shortages. The cabinet on Tuesday had an informal discussion on the realisation of joint development of petroleum resources estimated at 5 trillion baht. Source: Bangkok Post Print Edition, Bangkok Biz News
  • Udom quits all posts for justice job. Udom Rathamarit has relinquished all posts in both government organisations and private businesses after the Senate endorsed his appointment as a Constitutional Court justice. On Dec 26, the Senate endorsed Mr Udom’s selection as the latest Constitutional Court justice in a vote of 200 to two with six abstentions. Support of at least half of the Senate, or 125 senators, was needed for the appointment to be endorsed. The appointment has now been forwarded to the palace for the King’s signature. Mr Udom previously served as dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Law, deputy rector of Thammasat University, a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee, and a specialist at the Administrative Court. Source: Bangkok Post

ECONOMICS

  • Thai Chamber of Commerce pins hope on tourism – FDI to bolster GDP growth in 2023. The TCC forecasts that the Thai economy will grow by 3-3.5 percent Thailand due to the pick-up in tourism, domestic spending and foreign direct investment (FDI).  FDI is anticipated to total 60 billion baht in the next 3-5 years in the BCG industries, Electric Vehicle, digital economy and service sectors such as tourism and medical tourism. TCC expects 25 million foreigners to visit Thailand this year, of which 5 million will be Chinese tourists. Source: Thansettakij Print Edition
  • High-speed train still on track.  Lessons learnt from the first phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project are believed to help ensure a smooth and faster operation of the next phase of the project, according to the Department of Rail Transport in an exclusive interview with DG Pichet Kunadhamraks. Despite some delays in construction during the first phase, the 179.41-billion-baht 253km standard-gauge railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima will still open in 2026 as initially planned. The second phase of the construction will be proposed to the cabinet for approval by early 2023. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Post-Covid tourism plan gets green light. The cabinet approved a blueprint for the 3rd National Tourism Development plan for 2023-2027, which envisions high-value tourism with resilience, sustainability and inclusive growth. It aspires for tourism to contribute to at least 25 percent of the country’s GDP as well as for Thailand to become the top 5 global wellness travel destination in the world. The plans are classified under 4 strategies, namely to build resilience in the tourism industry; develop fundamentals in the tourism sector to achieve quality tourism; improving tourism experience; and promoting sustainable tourism by reducing greenhouse gas emission by 2 percent annually. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Operators predict Thailand to draw 20 million visitors in 2023. The Tourism Council of Thailand expects Thailand to attract 20 million foreign arrivals in 2023, but said the priority is to help tourism operators access funding and healthcare. Other measures include granting hotel licenses to smaller guesthouses and developing tourist attractions in secondary cities. Tourism Authority of Thailand revealed that Thailand welcomed 11.8 million inbound arrivals in 2022, which exceeds its target of 10 million. TCT noted foreign visitor number is too low to benefit most operators, and that this year’s target of 20 million visitors would have broader benefits, yet tourism operators would still require assistance from the government. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Government pilots BCG industrial estates in Rayong and Lumpoon provinces to draw investments in new economy. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has designated 2 industrial estates, comprising a 1,482-rai estate in the EEC’s Rayong province and 653-rai estate in northern Thailand’s Lampoon province that will focus on sustainable, community-friendly and low-carbon developments. The IEAT also reported a 65.1 percent YoY increase in revenue in the first 9 months of 2022 from leasing its industrial estates to investors, particularly investments in the EV sector. For 2023, IEAT will develop the third phase of the Map Ta Phut port, the Smart Park industrial estate, a Special Economic Zone in Sa Kaew province and industrial estates in Songkla and Tak provinces. Source: Thansettakij Print Edition

For further information please see the embassy’s Facebook Page ‘Australian Embassy, Thailand’ or the Ambassador’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/AusAmbBKK

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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