ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thailand blasts could cost US$288m
THE Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicted the country may lose 100,000 to 200,000 foreign tourists following the blasts, which would mean a loss of some 5 to 10 billion baht (US$144 million to US$288 million) in tourism income this year.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said tourism authorities were planning various events to restore arrivals in major centres such as Phuket and Hua Hin.
She said the ministry would encourage tourists to visit Thailand from short-haul markets in the coming high season, especially during China’s Golden Week in October.
For the domestic market, the ministry plans to launch a campaign called ‘Expat for Fun’ in September, which will focus on destinations in southern Thailand.
Four southern tourism groups – the Phuket Tourist Association, Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, Patong Hotel Association, and Kata Karon Hotel’s Business Association – have tightened security in their areas.
The associations believed while some domestic tourists would cancel plans to visit for a short period, foreigners would keep their bookings.
Following the blasts, the average hotel occupancy rate in Phuket is 70 per cent. Hotels in the famous Patong Beach area have an occupancy rate of 80 per cent, mostly made of tourists from China, Australia, and the Middle East.
To rebuild tourism in Hua Hin, several major events are planned, such as a Hua Hin Festival of food and jazz music, which is expected to take place in September, followed by a golf event.
Three other tourism business meetings are also scheduled to take place in Hua Hin on August 21, 27 and 28. In October, there will be a special event to boost the entire domestic market in the last quarter.
Kobkarn said the agency was working with creators of the hit virtual reality game Pokemon Go to add more Pokestops and Gyms in the affected areas.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the country was planning a raft of initiatives, including a Situation Monitoring Centre and a ‘We Care’ campaign, to ensure the safety of tourists in Thailand. The centre will provide updated information to tourists.
“To boost industry and tourist confidence, TAT is putting initiatives in place to ensure that Thailand’s positive image as a safe and welcoming tourist destination remains intact. We encourage everyone working in the field of tourism to wear special White-Yellow Ribbons – symbols of the peace and unity of the nation,” Yuthasak said.
The ministry plans to ask the Cabinet to approve a long-weekend break, from September 24 to 27 to celebrate World Tourism Day and encourage domestic tourism.
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Indonesia to launch 13th economic package this month
Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said on Wednesday that the government would release its 13th economic policy package in August, adding that the draft had been completed.
Darmin said the 13th package was largely an extension of the previous one, but would expand its focus beyond industry. The 12th package focused on small and medium enterprises.
"We are just waiting to schedule a meeting with the president," Darmin told reporters at his office. He refused to give the exact date the new policy package would come into effect.
The ministry team must meet with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo one more time to finalize the details, Darmin said.