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NEWS UPDATES 10 August 2010

Strong Thai currency hurts exporters

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With the Thai baht showing continuing strength, currently at 31.90 to the dollar, the cost of shipping Thai exports is increasing, especially for food and agricultural products.

A Bank of Thailand regulation requires that business transactions in Thailand must be made in the national currency. However, the Thai National Shippers' Council plans to petition the bank to pay shipping costs with the U.S. dollar, to lessen the losses due to currency fluctuation. Three to four months ago the baht was trading in the range of 35-36 to the dollar.

The shippers' council plans to send a letter to the new governor of the central bank, Prasarn Trairatvorakul, to consider the exception. The council also hope the central bank will monitor the dollar to deter further appreciation.

(tags: trade, currency fluctuation, Thai baht, shipping costs) Thai tourism sector seeks new directions A seminar of the Pacific Asia Travel Association is urging Thailand to develop new products and a long-term strategy as the recent political chaos has hit the industry hard.

Speakers at the seminar said tourists were heading to Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, while Thailand's value-for-money status was being contested by India. It was suggested that He suggested the industry pay more attention to the environment and add products for the elderly and medical tourists.

Also stressed was the need to develop alternative cities to Bangkok as speakers felt Bangkok needed to improve its infrastructure and environment.

Despite the difficult political situation, foreign tourist arrivals to Thailand during the first half of 2010 rose 13.7 percent year-on-year to 7.51 million despite the sharp decline during the political turmoil in May and June. Thailand expects to attract 15 million tourists this year.

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