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Bangkok most visited city in Asia Pacific


The MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017 released last week shows that Bangkok remains the most visited city in the Asia Pacific region with 19.3 million overnight arrivals trailed by Singapore at 13.1 million, Tokyo at 12.6 million, Seoul at 12.4 million and Kuala Lumpur at 11.3 million. China remains the biggest contributor of outbound travelers with 55 million overnight arrivals or 16.2 percent of the total number of overnight visitors. Chinese visitors also spent the most in the region accounting for 17.7 percent of tourism expenditure followed by South Korea and they were also the top source of expenditures for Bangkok visitors.

The Fiscal Policy Office has raised its 2017 export growth forecast to 3.3 percent from 2.5 percent on the back of strong export growth so far this year but is maintaining its 3.6 percent growth forecast for the economy as a whole. March saw exports jump 9.2 percent year on year while for the first three months exports grew 4.9 percent to 1.95 trillion baht (US$56.5 billion), the highest rate in four years. The FPO also predicted that the baht will average around 35.5 baht to the U.S. dollar and set inflation at 1.4 percent. The FPO said if the government disburses all the funds allocated for the first half of the year for infrastructure and other projects it will have a bigger boost to the economy but predicts that only 60 percent of the funds allocated to the budget will be used.

The FPO also announced that revenue collection passed the 9 billion baht target hitting 1.04 trillion baht in the period from October 2016 to March 2017. Revenue from non-tax collections surpassed the target by 37.8 percent, the Excise Department brought in 1.5 more than the target hitting 278 billion baht, mainly from oil and beer taxes. The Revenue Department fell short of its target by 1.7 percent but exceeding the same period a year ago by 2.9 percent or 21 billion baht. The government has projected budget expenditure of 2.73 trillion baht and a deficit of 390 billion for the 2017 fiscal year ending in September.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission announced last week that producers, importers and distributors of Internet TV boxes will be required to obtain permits from NBTC or face two years in prison and/or a maximum fine of two million baht. The announcement, which was published in the Royal Gazette, said that internet TV boxes manufactured, imported or distributed in the country, such as Media Box, Android Box, Apple TV Box, TV Stick and Chromecast and capable of accessing to TV programsin IPTV/OTT format, were covered under the new regulation.

The government is working hard to promote Board of Investment promotions and setting up new categories for special tax breaks but also economic zones such as the Eastern Economic Corridor on the Eastern Seaboard. The BOI as it is known, announces new privileges regularly- privileges that can include major tax breaks for the corporations, income tax breaks for researchers and executives and more. For this interested in setting up a BOI company there are many new options to consider. More information here on Sunbelt Asia on what it means, advantages and requirements.



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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