Thailand "Best for People" in Conde Nast Travellers UK Readers awards
Thailand jumped to third place in the “Best Country in the World” category of the Conde Nast Traveller UK 2018 Readers’ Travel Awards, and first for “Best Country for People”. Koh Samui cracked the top ten “Best Islands in the World” staying at number nine in the survey conducted annually. Italy came in first as the Best Country followed by Greece again this year while last year Thailand came in at number 8. According to the Governor of the TAT Thailand also did well in Travel Weekly U.K.’s annual global awards; Thailand came in first for Best for Spa & Wellness, second place for Best for Value for Money, fourth place for Best for Food & Drink ninth place for Best for Luxury.
Thailand saw 22.65 million visitor arrivals from January to July 2018, an 11 percent year on year jump according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Estimated visitor expenditure rose by 14.44 percent to 1.18 trillion baht. The top ten source markets Thailand during the first seven months were China, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, India, Japan, Russia, the United States, Vietnam, and Singapore. The TAT also reported a rise in visitor arrivals by sea and higher hotel occupancy rates in secondary provinces such as Rayong, Suphan Buri, Chai Nat, Nakhon Pathom, Ang Thong, and Patthalung.
The Ministry of Commerce predicts exports will grow 9 percent this year with China remaining Thailand’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade between Thailand and China reached $US73 billion last year, a 12.4 percent leap compared to 2016, this year it is predicted to top US$80 billion. The Ministry is looking to help Thai producers penetrate local Chinese markets as well as online markets with a bid to promote Thai fruits overseas as well.
The e-commerce market in Thailand is expected to grow to 10 percent of the total retail market within five years, up from three percent today. Central Group is officially launching a new e-commerce platform in conjunction with Chinese giant JD Group called JD Central next month after a soft-opening in June. Online retail makes up 30 percent of the market in China. The Revenue Department reports that there are about 500,000 million online vendors selling in Thailand, of which 350,000 are based in the country.
A draft bill to supervise e-commerce transactions is undergoing a second round of public hearings after vetting by the Council of State. The new bill will improve the Revenue Department's tax collection efficiency giving the department the tools to determine if online vendors are understating or evading tax payments. The new bill will require that financial institutions report customer accounts with more than more than 3,000 deposits and more than 200 money transfer transactions a year with a total value of at least 2 million baht to the Revenue Department. The cabinet recently approved an amended Revenue Code related to VAT collection from e-business operators with a physical presence outside of Thailand, while the Revenue Department is drafting a bill revoking VAT exemption for online purchases of goods that are valued at less than 1,500 baht from vendors shipped by mail outside of Thailand.