Strong economic growth in November is expected to continue through the end of the year

The Fiscal Policy Office reported that the Thai economy had strong growth in November and that is expected to continue through the end of the year. Private consumption grew, in part due to a 12.8 percent jump in vehicle sales while Value Added Tax climbed by 9.6 percent to a 4 month high. Investment in the machinery sector grew 27.9 percent, and while exports dropped slightly they still hit US$21.2 billion with exports to the U.S. the highest in seven months. Tourism numbers grew 4.5 percent year on year in November reaching 3.18 million. Travelers from Malaysia leaped to the highest numbers in 41 months, growing by 44.6 percent. Foreign tourists brought over 167.4 billion baht into the country in November. The FPO has maintained its growth prediction of 4.5 percent this year, up from 3.9 percent last year, based on the expectation that spending will accelerate with New Year holidays. The Bank of Thailand also kept its annual GDP forecast at 4.2 percent for 2018 and predicted 4 percent for 2019.

The National Legislative Assembly passed into law last week a bill that legalizes the possession, production, use, import, and export of marijuana and Kratom for medical, research and development, agricultural, scientific, and industrial purposes. Under the law, the quantity of marijuana permitted for personal possession must not exceed ten kilograms and only certain categories of people and agencies are allowed to legally produce and trade in marijuana and Kratom. The Ministry of Commerce will begin reviewing applications for cannabis licenses in January, to date 31 applications have been submitted; one application seeks a license for the extraction of cannabis, 20 applications are for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and 20 applications for the development of substances that have similar effects to marijuana.

The Airports of Thailand predicts 3.1 million passengers will pass through its six international airports. Airlines are expected to operate 18,300 flights during the period from December 27 to January 2, the number of flights is predicted to grow 12.6 percent year on year while the number of passengers will grow 11.8 percent. Suvarnabhumi will see the most passengers with 1.52 million passengers or 217,000 passengers each day showing 15.3 percent year on year growth, flights will see 15 percent growth reaching 8,000 flights or 1,140 flights per day. Don Mueang will have the second highest number of flights and passengers. The TAT predicts the number of foreigners traveling in the country will grow 9 percent to 520,000 people and will spend 7.8 billion baht, up 15 percent.

Phuket is saw growth in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) revenues nearly double in the past year, growing from 9 billion baht last year to a record-high 10.9 billion baht this year. There were 660 events with nearly 60,000 participants in the past year, with the top three sources coming from Singapore, China, and India. Indian weddings accounted for a good portion of the revenues as two weddings on the island last month spent over 320 million baht. That number is expected to grow with the increase of direct flights from GO Air to Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru. Bangkok came in second in Asia and 21st in the world in the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index. The top five Asian cities with highest overall scores were: Tokyo, Bangkok, Goyang in South Korea, Sapporo in Japan, and Dubai, UAE. The ranking measured four factors; city environmental strategy and infrastructure, city social sustainability performance, industry supplier support, and Convention Bureau strategy and initiatives. The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) ws the top scorer when compared to other Asian convention bureaus.

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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