MICE visitors from China jump 35 percent

MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) travelers from China to Thailand have surged this year, growing 35 percent year on year. The fiscal year for the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) ends in September and the TCEB reported that in the first three quarters (October 1, 2017 – June, 30, 2018) Thailand welcomed 134,754 MICE visitors from China. The previous fiscal year saw a total of 153,312 MICE visitors. Based on advanced bookings, the TCEB predicts the number will reach 168,643 for the full fiscal year, generating income of 14 billion baht. China, India, and Singapore remain key targets for MICE events as Thailand is a reasonably distant, central short-haul destination. The top 10 long-haul source markets in 2017 were the US, Australia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. For fiscal year 2018 the country expects a total of 1.32 million business travelers generating 124 billion baht in revenues.

The new Land and Buildings tax may see implementation delayed again from the scheduled start of January 2019 as recent rehearsals with Land Department officials found most were not ready for the new regulations. Implementation of the tax was also delayed when the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) standing committee extended the scrutiny process for the eighth time until the end of September. The bill has been stuck in the scrutiny process since it was passed in March of 2017. The NLA committee had already lowered the proposed Finance Ministry taxes with the ceiling tax rate for homes of 0.3 percent (down from 0.5 percent), the rate for agricultural use dropped to 0.15 percent (down from 0.2 percent) and the rate for other used and undeveloped land to 1.2 percent from the proposed 2 percent. The committee also dropped rates for houses, offering a first-home exemption threshold of 50 million, up from the previous 20 million baht while homes above 50 million will be charged .03 - .05 percent. The Finance Ministry is also considering cutting the 2 percent ownership transfer fee to .01 percent.

The Ministry of Commerce predicts that by the end of the year 80,000 new businesses will be registered with the Business Development Department. There have been 43,500 new businesses registered since January, and nearly 6,000 in July. The total amount of capital registered in July was 26.354 billion baht. The rise in new businesses is in line with government’s infrastructure development policy, with most of the new businesses in construction and real estate.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and Thailand Securities Depository Co Ltd (TSD) issued guidelines for shareholders enabling them to convene a shareholders meeting when company executives refuse to do so, this is in accordance with Article 100 of the Public Limited Company Act of 1992 according to the SEC press release. Shareholders will need to inform the TSD of the closing date of the book of shareholders' registration and the date of the shareholders' meeting and will have the right to immediately request a copy of shareholders' registration as proof of share ownership from TSD. The TSD will prepare the documents and send invitation letters to all shareholders but they are required to pay the TSD in advance. The release said that this should “Support the use of shareholders' right to collectively resolve problems which can arise and help businesses proceed with their operations."

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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