Tourism experts warn of changing demographics

Tourism experts are warning Thailand to adapt to changing demographics and tourism interests as aging populations travel at an older age and younger generations choose more unique and experience-based destinations. Additionally, tourists are increasingly looking to cashless payments and real-time on demand service. Younger tourists, especially Chinese, expect basic services such as WiFi, internet and social media access. The Chinese market remains huge, but experts warn that the emerging economies of Muslim countries in the Middle East, India and South Asia will see larger numbers of tourists from those areas.

The Land Traffic Management Commission met yesterday to discuss ongoing transportation projects; the Cabinet has already approved a draft of the Royal Decree for the implementation of the construction of the 58.5 km light rail tram route in Phuket, the line which will run from Tha Noon in Phangnga to Chalong intersection in the south of Phuket, will see the MRTA build the first phase from Phuket Airport to Chalong Circle with 24 stations. The Cabinet also approved the draft of the Royal Decree for development of a three tram lines in Chiang Mai, while the commission approved the master plan of Nakhon Ratchasima's light rail project with three routes, and the implementation of the first phase of construction of light rail in Khon Kaen. The Commission authorized the MRTA to handle the development of light rail in Phitsanulok and endorsed a 3km expansion of the Pink Line to Muang Thong Thani and a 2.6km expansion of the Yellow Line to link the Green Line at Phahon Yothin. The committee also approved of the construction of a new 9.8 km long road along the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi to ease traffic congestion, construction is expected to take 2-3 years.

Thailand climbed two places up the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index to 38 out of 140 nations in 2017, while its financial system placed strongly at number 14. Thailand’s financial sector scored highly for its availability of capital, credit services, variety of financial products, financial risk diversification system, financing of SMEs, financial support for start-ups, and the soundness of its banks. The country came in 18th for its market size in large part due to the strong accessibility of its markets for foreign and domestic companies. The global competitiveness index measures national competitiveness; that is the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity, and scores competitiveness for long-term economic growth on a scale of 1 – 100. Thailand saw its scores rise in ICT adoption, infrastructure, institutions, health, financial systems, market size, business dynamics, and innovation capability but saw the score fall from the previous year in the labor market and product market. Thailand has a very low rate of unemployment and a tight labor market.

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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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