Jump in tourists expected for Songkran holiday
The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts a year on year rise in foreign visitors for Songkran based on forward bookings by airlines for the period. Airlines from France, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Australia, India, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have increased their forward bookings from the same period last year. In addition to forward bookings by airlines there are a number of charter flights and low cost carriers. Chinese arrivals are expected to rise 38 percent to 165,000 for the Songkran period while tourists from Malaysia are also expected to cross the border in increasing numbers. The TAT predicts spending by foreign tourists to jump 18 percent year on year to nearly 20 billion baht; foreign tourists are predicted to spend 5,500 baht per day per person on average during the three day Songkran holiday.
Don Mueang International Airport will propose a major overhaul of the old domestic terminal as part of the three phase development plan. The 2.2 billion baht renovation budget will be proposed next month and it is hoped that by upgrading and opening the now closed terminal congestion will be eased at the airport. Don Mueang caters to the low cost carrier airlines and reached 37 million passengers in 2017 and is expected to grow by 14 percent this year to 42 million passengers. Other projects up for approval include renovation of the jet bridge and the installation of more immigration checkpoints to increase the number of passengers handled per hour from 2,000 to 3,000. The renovated terminal could open as soon as 2020 according to the general manager of the airport. Short term projects are expected to be implemented at Suvaranbhumi, Chiang Mai, and Phuket airports as all three see overcrowding and AoT plans on building a second airport in both Chiang Mai and Phuket.
The Cabinet approved in principle regulations on trade in crypto-currencies, initial coin offerings, and activities related to digital assets. Under the approval, a 15% withholding tax on profits and dividends generated by transactions involving digital assets may be imposed and all corporate entities involved in digital currencies, either brokers or legal representatives, must register their operations with the government. According to an adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office tax collection on digital-currency investments will be considered by the Council of the State and details of both changes will be clearer next week.
Amazon, the global e-tailer, is expanding into Thailand by working together with Siam Commercial Bank, Payoneer, E-Commerce Education, Benzio Institute and DHL to launch JumpStart Chiang Mai which will allow new vendors to sell their products in the US. Sellers on JumpStart will get free consulting and will need to have products ready to sell within one month after training. The company’s Facebook page is being used to promote the new opportunities for small and medium enterprises.