วันอังคารที่ 4 มิถุนายน พ.ศ. 2556

China – Southeast Asia People to People High-Level Dialogue Kicks Off to Realise the Common Dream and Aspiration of Its Peoples

(04-06-2013)

The city of Nanning is no stranger to the ASEAN – China Dialogue Relations. This capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China, known as the Forest City of China, has played host to the “China-ASEAN Expo” (CAEXPO) since 2004, as well as the “China-ASEAN Business Investment Summit”.

This time around, the beautiful city also plays host for the inaugural “China – Southeast Asia People to People High-Level Dialogue”. With the theme of “Peace for Development and Cooperation for Win-Win – Common Dream and Aspiration of the People”, the Dialogue brought together government officials, political leaders, former senior politicians, first ladies, academies, business leaders, and representatives from non-governmental organisations, as well as the media from 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS), China, and Timor-Leste.

The heads of delegations had a courtesy call on Mr Liu Qibao, Member of Political Bureau and Secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In his Keynote Speech, Mr Liu highlighted the long term exchanges between China and ASEAN, elaborated the theme of the new Chinese leadership, which centres around the realisation of the Chinese dream. This also includes a win-win element of peaceful coexistence, development and cooperation, and to advance the strategic relations between China and ASEAN.

The Dialogue is organised by China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE). In his remark, Mr Li Jinjun, Executive Vice-President of CNIE, introduced the Network to the participants of the Dialogue, as well as the outline of the of the thematic discussions. “The objective is to strengthen the platform and mechanism for people-to-people and/or NGO exchanges amongst China and Southeast Asia,” he said.

Speaking as the local host, Mr Peng Qinghua, the CPC Chief of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Guangxi is a perfect setting to host the Dialogue. “Located in the South of China, the Guangxi shares a border with the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Situated at the juncture of South China Economic Rim, Southwest China Economic Rim and ASEAN Economic Rim, Guangxi is the only region in China that has both land and sea accesses to ASEAN, an international passage connecting China with ASEAN and the forefront for China’s cooperation with ASEAN,” said Mr Peng, adding that Guangxi is committed to supporting and implementing the China – ASEAN Dialogue Relations, and deepen cooperation with the people to bring benefit for the peoples of China and Southeast Asia.

At the Dialogue, the ASEAN Secretariat delegation also met Mr Liang Sheng Li, Vice-Chairman of Guangxi CPPCC, for discussions. Mr Liang outlined three areas which Guangxi could help enhance China-ASEAN relations.

“I have three areas of focus: to organise a better CAEXPO; to utilise the platform of the Dialogue to enhance the connections at the people to people level for better communication and understanding; to expand communications in the fields of culture, tourism, sports, and many others,” said Mr Liang.

In reply, Mr Danny Lee, Director for Community Affairs Development said ASEAN and China are important partners in almost every way. “ASEAN and China are both focused on raising the living standards of our people. For this to succeed, a peaceful and stable environment is important for every player in the Asia-Pacific,” said Mr Lee.

Referring to Mr Liu’s remarks, Mr Lee agreed that people-to-people contacts will form the foundation of the strategic relationship between ASEAN and China, and he also hopes to enhance the publicity and outreach efforts of the CAEXPO, which is the flagship event for our relations.

The Dialogue participants will also visit Fangchenggang City, a coastal city of Guangxi that serves as one of the main transportation hub and connection between ASEAN and China.



By:
Danny Lee, Director for Community Affairs Development, and
Rif’at Syauqi Fachir, Division for AICHR, AIPA, ASEAN Foundation and Other Entities at the ASEAN Secretariat

China – Southeast Asia People to People High-Level Dialogue Kicks Off to Realise the Common Dream and Aspiration of Its Peoples

(04-06-2013)

The city of Nanning is no stranger to the ASEAN – China Dialogue Relations. This capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China, known as the Forest City of China, has played host to the “China-ASEAN Expo” (CAEXPO) since 2004, as well as the “China-ASEAN Business Investment Summit”.

This time around, the beautiful city also plays host for the inaugural “China – Southeast Asia People to People High-Level Dialogue”. With the theme of “Peace for Development and Cooperation for Win-Win – Common Dream and Aspiration of the People”, the Dialogue brought together government officials, political leaders, former senior politicians, first ladies, academies, business leaders, and representatives from non-governmental organisations, as well as the media from 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS), China, and Timor-Leste.

The heads of delegations had a courtesy call on Mr Liu Qibao, Member of Political Bureau and Secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In his Keynote Speech, Mr Liu highlighted the long term exchanges between China and ASEAN, elaborated the theme of the new Chinese leadership, which centres around the realisation of the Chinese dream. This also includes a win-win element of peaceful coexistence, development and cooperation, and to advance the strategic relations between China and ASEAN.

The Dialogue is organised by China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE). In his remark, Mr Li Jinjun, Executive Vice-President of CNIE, introduced the Network to the participants of the Dialogue, as well as the outline of the of the thematic discussions. “The objective is to strengthen the platform and mechanism for people-to-people and/or NGO exchanges amongst China and Southeast Asia,” he said.

Speaking as the local host, Mr Peng Qinghua, the CPC Chief of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Guangxi is a perfect setting to host the Dialogue. “Located in the South of China, the Guangxi shares a border with the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Situated at the juncture of South China Economic Rim, Southwest China Economic Rim and ASEAN Economic Rim, Guangxi is the only region in China that has both land and sea accesses to ASEAN, an international passage connecting China with ASEAN and the forefront for China’s cooperation with ASEAN,” said Mr Peng, adding that Guangxi is committed to supporting and implementing the China – ASEAN Dialogue Relations, and deepen cooperation with the people to bring benefit for the peoples of China and Southeast Asia.

At the Dialogue, the ASEAN Secretariat delegation also met Mr Liang Sheng Li, Vice-Chairman of Guangxi CPPCC, for discussions. Mr Liang outlined three areas which Guangxi could help enhance China-ASEAN relations.

“I have three areas of focus: to organise a better CAEXPO; to utilise the platform of the Dialogue to enhance the connections at the people to people level for better communication and understanding; to expand communications in the fields of culture, tourism, sports, and many others,” said Mr Liang.

In reply, Mr Danny Lee, Director for Community Affairs Development said ASEAN and China are important partners in almost every way. “ASEAN and China are both focused on raising the living standards of our people. For this to succeed, a peaceful and stable environment is important for every player in the Asia-Pacific,” said Mr Lee.

Referring to Mr Liu’s remarks, Mr Lee agreed that people-to-people contacts will form the foundation of the strategic relationship between ASEAN and China, and he also hopes to enhance the publicity and outreach efforts of the CAEXPO, which is the flagship event for our relations.

The Dialogue participants will also visit Fangchenggang City, a coastal city of Guangxi that serves as one of the main transportation hub and connection between ASEAN and China.



By:
Danny Lee, Director for Community Affairs Development, and
Rif’at Syauqi Fachir, Division for AICHR, AIPA, ASEAN Foundation and Other Entities at the ASEAN Secretariat

Stronger Youth Cooperation – Brighter ASEAN’s Future

(03-06-2013)

Under the theme "Young People - Building Tomorrow's ASEAN Today”, the 8th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY VIII), and the 4th  ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Youth (4th AMMY+3) were concluded on 23 May 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. The Meetings discussed directions and initiatives to further promote ASEAN youths in contributing towards the future of ASEAN Community.

The Meeting reiterated an important position that young generations, especially young professionals, can play to boost ASEAN solidarity by offering voluntary community services in areas such as rural development, disaster relief, health, education and the environment as well as supporting vulnerable groups, including people who are differently-abled, and fostering entrepreneurial skills. The Meeting also discussed the unemployment crisis that millions of young people are facing around the globe.

The Bruneian Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair, pointed out that the global trend in youth unemployment was "alarming" with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) projecting more than 73 million jobless young people this year, and "ASEAN is not immune to this global crisis," he said in his opening remarks. He added that ASEAN should not allow ourselves to become complacent, and youth employment should be a priority issue in ASEAN cooperation. Acting as the Chair of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair also called for an urgent need to promote entrepreneurship and volunteerism among young people to help combat youth unemployment in the ASEAN region.

The Meeting noted with satisfaction the 1st ASEAN Youth Entrepreneur Seminar and Expo, which serves as a platform for promoting economic self-reliance and support the self-employment of the ASEAN youths.
The Meeting endorsed the “Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Youth Volunteerism and Entrepreneurship” as guiding principles to promote greater economic self-reliance among young people through enterprise and entrepreneurship development. The Meeting also endorsed several initiatives that instill a sense of community including the establishment of an ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program (AYVP) and other youth professional volunteer initiatives. ASEAN Youth Program Fund (AYPF) was established to further support the ASEAN youth cooperation and development.

In cooperation with China, Japan and Republic of Korea, various issues and topics on youth were discussed. “Around 60% of ASEAN population today comprises of those under 35 years old and they are the driving force to shape our future. In tandem with the aspiration of a people-oriented ASEAN, the youth of ASEAN and its Plus Three partners represents one of ASEAN’s greatest assets and one of the most important groups in ASEAN that will help ASEAN realise its vision of the Community by 2015”, said H.E. Alicia R. Bala, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

China, Japan and Korea noted the desire and commitment of ASEAN towards youth development and promoting their roles to build an ASEAN of tomorrow. They agreed that youths are not only the key stakeholders to the future of Asean but also in a larger East Asia context.

The Meeting noted that a new phase of the ASEAN-China Youth Camp and ASEAN Youth Leaders Training Program will be implemented by China; the second installment of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS 2.0) by Japan; and the 4th ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum (AKFF) by ROK in 2013. They were informed that these would help to further strengthen cooperation among youths in ASEAN and the Plus Three countries whilst promoting relations to a higher and more strategic level.

The Meeting also recognised the potential to work with other ASEAN Dialogue Partners to further enhance efforts in youth development in the region.


The next ministerial meetings will be held in Cambodia in 2015.

The Rule of Law – a Fundamental Feature of ASEAN Since Its Inception

(29-05-2013)

ASEAN had embraced the concept of the rule of law, especially at the international level, ever since its inception in 1967, and it continues to be a cornerstone of the Association until now. First recognised in ASEAN’s founding document–the Bangkok Declaration–as a means to achieve regional peace and stability, the concept of the rule of law is now enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.

The concept of rule of law in the ASEAN Charter is read in conjunction with ASEAN’s commitment to democracy and good governance, adherence to constitutional government and to the promotion and protection of human rights, said H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, in Brussels yesterday. Speaking at the Third High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy held at the European Commission, SG Minh said that “the importance accorded to the rule of law has been brought to new heights in the ASEAN Charter where the rule of law is embraced officially as both a purpose and a principle”.

This, according to the Secretary-General, is despite the lack of authoritative definition of rule of law. “Although the core elements of the concept, such as equality before the law and the supremacy of the law, are widely accepted, the application of this concept into national political systems and legal structures varies greatly according to the specific contexts and capacities,” he elaborated. However, a broad conception of the rule of law incorporates elements such as a strong constitution with constitutional limits on power, human rights, an effective electoral system, a commitment to gender equality, laws for the protection of minorities and vulnerable groups and a strong civil society. In this regard, the rule of law is fundamental for any functioning democracy.

Apart from the ASEAN Charter, the Association has also developed a number of instruments and mechanisms to facilitate cooperation among the ASEAN Member States which help to uphold and strengthen the rule of law. “These instruments include the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint and the ASEAN Law Ministerial Meeting,” said Secretary-General Minh.

“The ASEAN Way has brought us to where we are now. War among the ASEAN Member States is unthinkable. And we are one of the fastest growing regions in the world today,” the Secretary-General highlighted.

The Third High Level Meeting, which discussed the rule of law, highlighted the experiences and achievements of regional organizations, and the UN in promoting the rule of law in the regions and globally. The Meeting was hosted by President Barroso of the European Commission and attended by the heads and representatives of regional organisations including the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Pacific Island Forum, the Organisation of American States and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The meeting was co-organized by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the European Commission.

The Meeting also agreed to continue the constructive dialogue among the Heads of Regional Organizations on the topic of democracy and development at the Fourth High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy which is expected to be held in Cairo in 2014. This Meeting will also discuss the development of the post-2015 Development Agenda and the role that Regional Organizations can play in it.

The ASEAN Secretariat was the host of the Second High Level Meeting which was held in 2012 with the theme “Promoting and Ensuring Inclusive Political Participation and Representation in our Regions”.

ASEAN and UNCTED to Strengthen Cooperation in Counter-terrorism

(28-05-2013)

H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, received Mr. Mike Smith, Executive Director of UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED), last week at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Mr. Smith extended his congratulations to SG Minh for taking his office as the Secretary-General of ASEAN and expressed satisfaction of the outcomes of cooperation between ASEAN and UN, especially between ASEAN and UNCTED thus far.

They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and UNCTED in counter-terrorism efforts in the region. They also discussed on further strengthening links between ASEAN Secretariat and UNCTED officials.

Regional Election Results Highlight Latest “ASEAN Today”

(28-05-2013)

Several member countries saw the return of political leaders to office.  Election results in Malaysia and the Philippines lead this month’s edition of
“ASEAN Today.”

Nattha Komolvadhin of Thai PBS in Bangkok and Dalton Tanonaka of Indonesia’s Metro TV in Jakarta report this month’s stories on the people and places of the dynamic Southeast Asia region.  Also included in this month’s program are the ASEAN membership hopes of East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, handicraft fusion in Vietnam, eco-tourism in Cambodia, and AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes winning “dress-up” bet with Virgin boss Richard Branson.  Durudee Sirichanya, Head of Public Outreach and Civil Society Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, has the regular feedback segment.

This is the 19th episode in the informative and entertaining series, and can be viewed on YouTube (http://youtu.be/_FokOhAtcho) as well as through ASEAN broadcasters including Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia and Indonesia’s Metro TV.

“ASEAN Today” is a joint production of the ASEAN Secretariat and Metro TV.  Some material is provided by broadcasters in member countries.  Check local listings for broadcast times.  For more information, contact Tanonaka at dalton@metrotvnews.com.

ASEAN: A New Magnet for Foreign Direct Investments

(28-05-2013)

The 27th Meeting of the Working Group on International Investment Statistics (WGIIS) was held concurrently with the 6th Regional Workshop on Foreign Direct Investment Statistics (FDIS) in Jogjakarta, Indonesia earlier this month. The 3-day activity was hosted by Bank Indonesia with the assistance of the ASEANstats; and featured Mr. Christie F. J. Richards, an international expert on FDIS, as the featured resource person.

The Group noted the high levels of FDI inflows during 2010 to 2011, signaling recovery from the impact of global economic uncertainty of the previous two years. From 2010, the ASEAN region has gained relative importance as a magnet for FDI. These investments have been spearheaded by relatively new players such as the Sovereign Wealth Funds and state-owned enterprises. Another characteristic of the current period is the increasing intra-ASEAN investments. The increasing role of Singapore, as a regional hub of international investments, is the prime driver of intra-ASEAN investments. The current sectoral characteristics of ASEAN FDI reflect the preferences that direct investors have for manufacturing and services industries.

In its continuing effort to enhance the quality of FDIS, the WGIIS focused on adopting practical measures to capture foreign direct investment flows by sectoral and geographical characteristics. Towards this end, discussions were held on the effective use of various data sources for the compilation of FDIS. Challenges faced by some ASEAN Member States to obtain satisfactory data through surveys were recognised. As no “one size fits all”, some Member States would have to explore the use of administrative data and financial reports of companies as data sources in preference to surveys.

Serbia Pursues Closer Relationship with ASEAN

(28-05-2013)

H.E. Jovan Jovanović, presented his Letter of Credence as Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to ASEAN to H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN last week.

SG Minh welcomed the accreditation of Ambassador Jovanović and expressed appreciation to the desire of the Government of the Republic of Serbia to strengthen friendly relations and cooperation with ASEAN and ASEAN Member States. He further reassured Ambassador Jovanović that he and the ASEAN Secretariat stands ready to further promoting the relationship. He suggested exploring practical cooperation in the fields that Serbia has expertise and interest for mutual benefits, which would also serve as the foundation for closer relationship.

Ambassador Jovanović stated that the Government of Serbia regards ASEAN as an important Organisation, which plays increasingly important role in the region and beyond. He informed that his accreditation to ASEAN is the important first step and that pursuing closer relationship with ASEAN is consistent with Serbia’s foreign policy principles and goals, as well as with its intention to deepen all-round cooperation with ASEAN Member States.

Ambassador Jovanović reiterated the desired of the Republic of Serbia to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and expressed the readiness to promote the principles of the TAC beyond the region of Southeast Asia because it considers them as universal values for governing inter-state relations.

Cuba Wishes to Enhance Relationship with ASEAN

(28-05-2013)

H.E. Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, extended his warm congratulations to H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, on assuming his post as Secretary-General of ASEAN, and wished him success in his noble task. He informed that Cuba wishes to enhance its relations with ASEAN and builds the foundation of its relationship with each ASEAN Member States. H.E. Parrilla recalled the long-standing diplomatic relations between Cuba and countries in Southeast Asia, including in international fora such as United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, and G77, among others.

SG Minh extended his cordial welcome to the ASEAN Secretariat and also encouraged Cuba, as the first step, to accredit an Ambassador to ASEAN soon to further promote cooperation between Cuba and ASEAN in the areas of mutual interest. He also encouraged exploring possible concrete cooperation with Cuba, in the fields which Cuba has expertise such as public health, medicine, agriculture, education and sport.


SG Minh and Minister Parrilla exchange views on the possibility of convening Foreign Ministers’ meeting between ASEAN and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on the sideline of the UN General Assembly in September 2013 in New York. Furthermore, they exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues.

“Thailand Elite Card” ready to Relaunch

(30-05-2013)

Directors of theTourism Authority of Thailand offices and TAT marketing representatives in Russia and the Asia-Pacific convened here today to discuss ways to expand the number of subscribers to the membership privilege scheme known as the Thailand Elite Card.

The meeting, called by Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the Thailand Privilege Card (TPC) was designed to provide the TAT representatives in 12 countries with a full briefing on the privileges, terms and conditions, marketing tools, and sale kits required to promote memberships.

The event is in the buildup to a global relaunch of the Thailand Elite Card in June.

The Thailand Elite card project is designed to attract high net worth individuals and encourage them to make repeat visits to Thailand, whether for business or leisure. It is within the scope of the strategy to grow visitor expenditure and the economic impact of travel and tourism across Thailand.

Ms. Vilaiwan Twichasri, Deputy Governor of TAT and the Acting Managing Director of TPC stated that, “There were some key adjustments according to the change of the business environment and consensus of the Thai Cabinet; namely, privileges, sales and purchase conditions, as well as the marketing tools and sales kits.”

TAT and TPC are projecting about 1,300 new members within the first year after the launch, with about half expected before the end of 2013. The countries targetted in the first phase of the membership drive are China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Russia, and the ASEAN and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.
Under the revamped membership terms and conditions, cardholders will be able to join up for an initial down payment fee of two million Baht followed by a 20,000 Baht annual fee over a 20-year validity period. Cardholders will be eligible for a five-year Multiple Entry Visa to Thailand and a one-year stay privilege per visit.
They will also be able to avail of the Thailand Elite Personal Assistance (EPL) at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Phuket Airport, including a fast-track channel at the immigration counters and airport transfers by BMW series 7 limousines. They will also have a 24-hour call centre access for any special assistance.

One of the most important privileges is usage of high-standard, five-star golfing and spa facilities 24 times per calendar year.

Mr Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The Thailand Elite Card will go a long way towards helping TAT raise the level of visitor arrivals to new heights. It will certainly be good for our luxury hotels, boutique properties, shopping malls and the many niche-market products that we are now focussing on.”

He said that the first round of briefings for TAT representatives in Asia and Russia would be followed by another round of briefings later in June for TAT directors and marketing representatives in Europe, Africa, Middle East and America.

Later on, special marketing representatives will be appointed to work on a commission basis to sell subscriptions.

Thailand-Japan Plan Two-Way Traffic flows

(22-05-2013)

In an effort to address a gap in travel between Thailand and the island of Kyushu in Japan, a tourism exchange was recently organized in the city of Fukuoka between the Thai Government and the private sector of Japan’s travel industry.

To mark the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Symposium on Mutual Tourism Exchange between Thailand and Kyushu was held in Fukuoka on May 8.

Participants included representatives of Kyushu’s tourist businesses and Thai government officials. Led by Mr. Thanatip Upatising, Thai Ambassador to Japan, and Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thai side met with the Japanese delegates to map out a plan to increase two-way tourist traffic.

Though Thailand received 1.3 million Japanese visitors in 2012, only 10% of that total came from Kyushu. Conversely, of the more than 260,000 Thais who visited Japan last year, about 8% went to Kyushu, most having made cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto their holiday destinations.


The symposium focused on enhancing bilateral Thai-Japanese relations at the national level, then examined channels to improve marketing activities to increase two-way traffic. Over 500 Japanese representatives of Kyushu’s tourism industry participated, including the local government leaders of Fukuoka Prefecture and executives of Japan’s Transport Bureau and Japan Railway.

The event highlighted the need for active involvement of the Thai and Japanese governments in facilitating travel between Kyushu and Thailand. Marketing routes considered were more frequent media and travel agent familiarization trips and better exposure in each country’s travel shows.

In 2012, Japanese tourists to Thailand totalled 1,371,253, an increase of 21.58 percent. In Jan - Apr 2013, Japanese arrivals totalled 520,415, up 19.16% over the same period of last year.

In 2013, TAT is expecting 1.42 million Japanese visitors, generating an estimated 55,690 million baht in tourism revenue.

Japan is Thailand’s largest trading partner, while Thailand is Japan’s sixth largest trading partner. In terms of investment, Japan is the largest group of investors in Thailand, with investment value of 312 billion baht, accounting for 63 percent of the total foreign direct investment in Thailand. There are about 7,000 Japanese companies operating in Thailand.

Thailand and Japan celebrated the 125th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2012.

What’s NEW at Thailand Travel Mart 2013 Plus

(22-05-2013)

The Thailand Travel Mart 2013 Plus (TTM+2013) to be held between June 5-7, 2013, will break new ground with two first-time events: the participation of Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration and the introduction of debates to the Travel Forum.

Both will help expand the quality of participation in Thailand’s largest business to business event, and also raise the level of intellectual discussion to a new high.

The Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration has a registered a team of 26 delegates to participate in TTM+. This is a very important step forward as the TTM+ is designed to showcase the exciting tourism products of the entire Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) which includes Yunnan province of China, Myanmar, Laos PDR, Vietnam, and Cambodia.


Yunnan is located in the lower Southwestern part of China and shares a long border with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. It is also close to Thailand, Bangladesh and Bhutan, making it an important gateway to Southeast and South Asia. Yunnan’s 16 prefectures and municipalities have a total population of 44 million, including 25 minority groups. Its capital is Kunming.

Yunnan’s unique tourist attractions include magnificent snow mountains and glaciers in the north, vast tropical rain forests in the south that are homes to rare fauna and flora species, the meandering and roaring “Three Rivers On Parallel” in the west, the spectacular karst landforms in the east and volcanoes in the southwest.

In recent years, it has seen a significant development of infrastructure and transportation networks. Kunming Changshui International Airport is now the fifth largest airport in China, with connections to 10 cities within Yunnan Province, 60 cities within China and 14 international cities, such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Yangon, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Mandalay, Dhaka, etc.

The emergence of road and rail links, including the Asian Highway and the Trans Asian Railway, will also enhance its connections with Bangkok, Lashio (Myanmar) and Hanoi (Vietnam). River navigation along the Mekong is also on the rise. All this will make Yunnan a very important point on the tour package circuit.

On 28 April 2012, TAT and China (Yunnan) signed a memorandum of understanding on promoting the flow of tourists between the two countries.

As for the concept of debate, it has been incorporated into the forum for Buyers and Sellers on the topics “Creative Travel” and “DIY Tourism.”

The first Keynote session on the topic “Changing destination perceptions through creative travel” by Professor Greg Richards, will be followed by a debate on the topic: “Bangkok needs repositioning through creative tourism techniques and implementation.”

Based in Barcelona, Prof. Richards is Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg and Professor of Events at Breda University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. He has worked on projects for numerous national governments, national tourism organizations and municipalities, and he has extensive experience in tourism research and education, with previous posts at London Metropolitan University (UK), Universitat Roviria I Virgili, Tarragona (Spain) and the University of the West of England (Bristol, UK).

The second Keynote session on the topic “DIY in tourism: Dynamic Packaging, the pros and the cons” by Mr. Frank Oostdam, will be followed by a debate on the topic: “dynamic packaging will become the tourist’s preferred option of buying holidays”.

Frank Oostdam is chairman of the ANVR, the Dutch Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents, which has a membership of 220 Tour Operators and 1400 Travel Agents in the Netherlands. He is leading the ANVR team in reengineering the ANVR and its functions in line with the changing scenario of the travel industry and overall market conditions.

One important trend impacting the future of the travel agents community is the future of Dynamic Packaging, a method used in package holiday bookings to enable consumers to build their own package of flights, accommodation, and car rental instead of purchasing a pre-defined package.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni welcomed all these inaugural events at the TTM.

He said, “The strong presence of Yunnan province will certainly give a major boost for buyers seeking new destinations in this part of the world. At the same time, the inclusion of debates is now important in order to broaden industry discourse and provide an opportunity for such an important issues to be discussed in a comprehensive manner”.

Thailand Tourism Festival 2013: Thailand Tourism as the Centre of AEC Tourism


Date & Time: 5 - 9 June, 2013, 10.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m.
Venue: Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Arena Exhibition and Convention Centre Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi.


Bangkok - 21 May 2013: “The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that the biggest tourism festival of the year called the Thailand Tourism Festival 2013, will take place on 5 – 9 June at the IMPACT Arena. The key talking point will concern Thailand’s tourism as the hub of ASEAN Economic Cooperation (AEC) regional tourism.” said Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

TAT encourages any and all interested parties and individuals to head to Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi to participate in the Festival and to get in on the ground floor of planning for the momentous changes that will occur with the advent of AEC in 2015.

As it prepares for the AEC, TAT has focused on building Thailand as a tourism hub for ASEAN, developing a high-quality workforce to serve the industry and promoting intra-tourism under cooperation with ASEAN members.

Apart from its two main websites, tourismthailand.org and Thaitravelmart.com, TAT has developed Aectourismthai.com to promote the country in ASEAN. To capitalise on all the forthcoming changes, TAT has crafted the “Thailand and Beyond Strategy” to be ready for the AEC in 2015.

There are many special activities being held at the Thailand Tourism Festival, including:
  • Thailand Tourism with AEC+6 Tourism and Convention Centre Exhibition: Including Thailand, Myanmar, Lao PDR., Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia; + Japan, Korea, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Modern Marketing Exhibition of Tourism Authority of Thailand under the theme of “Fascinating in Thailand”.
  • Tourism in 5 regions of Thailand Exhibition.
- Northern region of Thailand:  “Valuable Culture, Natural Forest”
- Central region of Thailand: “Various Styles of Tourism in the Central Region“
- Northeastern region of Thailand: “Civilisation Learning Source”
- Southern region of Thailand: “Beautiful Forest, Clear Sea, Variety of Cultures”
- Eastern region of Thailand: “Colourful East”
  • Presenting new tourism perspectives with Walking Streets in 5 tourism regions.
  • Tasting and shopping for delicious food and famous dishes from 5 tourism regions.
  • Performance stage of contemporary Thai and international art and culture @ the main stage.
  • Showcase of organisations allied with TAT; such as, TCEB, SACICT, with provinces being the tourism centre in each region.
  • Academic seminar relating to tourism for business alliances and educational institutions in the field of tourism.
  • Promoting domestic sales, especially for tourism entrepreneurs and VIP guests on 5 June, 2013, at 9.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.
  • Centre of tourism products and services with quality and special promotions; over 1,000 lists can be categorised into:
- Transportation (Airplane/automobile/train/ship)
- Hotel, accommodation, resort
- Tour guide companies
- Special tourist attractions, golf courses
- Financial institutions, banks, credit cards
- Spas, beauty salons, hospitals
- Amusement parks, entertainment venues, department stores
- Other products and services


Last year, TTF 2012 welcomed a total of 180,000 visitors. This generated revenue of 290 million Baht. For this year's TTF 2013, the projected number of visitors is at 200,000 which will generate approximately 300 million Baht.  So don’t miss the biggest tourism festival of the year with a brand new style. TAT has organised this event without any charge for all interested parties.” the TAT Governor noted.

TAT Highlights Thainess, Culture and Music at 14th Thai Tourism Festival in Tokyo

(16-05-2013)

Thousands of Japanese participated in the fun-filled Thai Tourism Festival organised in Tokyo between 11-12 May, auguring well for the future growth potential of Japanese visitor arrivals in 2013.

Ms. Pensuda Prai-aram, Chairperson of the TAT Board of Directors attended the 14th Thai Tourism Festival, along with Mr. Sansern Ngaorangsri, Deputy Governor for the Asia and South Pacific Market and other senior TAT executives.


Organised annually since 2000 by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo, the Thai Tourism Festival or Thai Fest is designed to build the brand image of Thailand among the Japanese public, promote Thai products, services and tourism, and remind Japanese people of the long-standing diplomatic, economic, cultural and political relations between the two countries.

Along with TAT included the participation of several Thai government agencies who were led by Mr. Thanatip Upatising, Thai Ambassador to Japan and private sector organisations under the banner of “Team Thailand.”  This year’s festival was held immediately after the Golden Week at Yo Yo Ngi Park, Shibuya district, Tokyo.

The Thai tourism pavilion was designed in a Central Thai architectural style, with colourful floral decorations and images of popular tourist attractions, especially the distinctive landmark of Bangkok, the "Giant Swing".

The fair featured 191 booths and shops promoting Thai products; such as, the Royal Projects, Thai restaurants and Thai fruits. Proving particularly popular were the performances of Thai classical dance and folk music by the Rajabhat Thonburi Educational Institute, Thai Children Musical band, and other performances by Miss Thailand, Thai actors and singers; such as, Thailand Boy band XIS, Tong and Jennie, Art Thom Ya, Bob Modern Dog, Thaitanium, etc.

Visitors also saw demonstrations of making garlands, Krathongs and handicrafts. They could also learn some of the simple Thai classical dance movements.

In addition, the TAT’s Mascot “Sukjai” or Happy Chan was on hand to invite visitors to pose for photographs. This proved to be particularly popular, especially with children who posted the pictures on their social media links.

Mr. Sansern Ngaorungsi, TAT Deputy Governor said, “In line with our marketing strategy of promoting ‘Thainess’, we designed the booth specifically to promote Thai arts and culture and make good use of interactive technologies to spread awareness and maximise the exposure.”

He added, “We believe that participation in this year’s event will raise Thailand’s awareness level to new heights. I would like to thank all those who helped make it a success.”

In 2012, Japanese tourists to Thailand totalled 1.3 million, an increase of 21.58 percent. In Jan. – Apr. 2013, Japanese arrivals totalled 520,415, up 19.16 percent over the same period of last year.

In 2013, TAT is expecting 1.42 million Japanese visitors, generating an estimated 55,690 million Baht in tourism revenue.

Japan is Thailand’s largest trading partner, while Thailand is Japan’s sixth largest trading partner. In terms of investment, Japan is the largest group of investors in Thailand, with investment value of 312 billion Baht, accounting for 63 percent of the total foreign direct investment in Thailand. There are about 7,000 Japanese companies operating in Thailand.

Thailand and Japan celebrated the 125th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2012.

TAT To Present “Friends of Thailand Awards” at TTM+ 2013

(15-05-2013)

BANGKOK, May 15, 2013: Thailand – A total of 38 individuals, institutions, companies and organisations which have provided unstinting support to the Thai travel & tourism industry over the years will be presented with the “Friends of Thailand Awards 2013” at the Thailand Travel Mart 2013 Plus, the kingdom’s most important travel trade show, on 5 June 2013.

Initiated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in 1996, the Friends of Thailand Awards are conferred every two years to recognise and reward the efforts of the award-winners to maintain a positive image of Thailand and ensure a steady flow of visitor arrivals. This year’s awards will be particularly important because Thai tourism is generating record-breaking arrivals, a clear result of the successful contributions of the “Friends of Thailand.”

This year’s awards will be presented to 38 “friends” from 24 countries, as follows (see the full list of recipients at the bottom of this news release)

  1. International Individuals; 7 recipients from 7 countries
  2. International Organisation; 3 recipients
  3. International Tour Operator; 14 recipients from 9 countries
  4. International Media; 12 recipients from 12 countries
  5. International Airlines; 2 recipients from 2 countries.
Commented TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “The awards presentation ceremony for the “Friends of Thailand,” is normally organised alongside the “Thailand Tourism Awards” towards the end of the year. But this year, for the first time, we are organising it alongside the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2013 (TTM+) so that the award-winners can gain more recognition and also see the results of their efforts.”

He added, “The TAT realises and appreciates the efforts of both Thai and foreign organizations and individuals which have generated many benefits for our tourism industry, including economic development, job creation and preservation of our culture and heritage. The award-winners also include stakeholders who have contributed to preservation of the environment, culture and national identity.”

The Friends of Thailand Awards was first held on 9 December 1996 at the Oriental Hotel Bangkok where 66 recipients from 18 countries were presented with the awards. Since then, it has been held in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. The ceremony for 2012 has been moved to this year’s TTM+. Through the 14 years (1996-2010), the TAT has conferred 510 awards on recipients from 59 countries.

The winners are nominated by 25 TAT’s overseas offices and finalised by a judging committee which this year was chaired by the TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and South Pacific). Committee Members included the Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas), Director of Thailand Conventional and Exhibition Bureau, President of Tourism Council of Thailand, Association of Thai Travel Agents, Thai Hotels Association, Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association, Thai Travel Agents Association, Association of Thai Tourism Marketing and Executives of Thai Airways International and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The full list of the Friends of Thailand Award winners 2013 are as follow:

1. Category of International Individuals; Total 7 awards from 7 countries
1.1 Belgium: Mrs. Nathalie Meskens, Actress, Singer and Restaurateur
1.2 France: Mr. Christophe Guillarme, CEO, Fashion Designer and Art Director, Paris
1.3 India: Mr. Prabhat (Mickey) Jain, Managing Director, Beautiful Wedding Management Pvt. Ltd.
1.4 Japan: Mr. Tanenori Terai, Osaka Temmangu Shrine
1.5 Macau: Mr. Ho Lino Weng Cheong, President of Macau-Thailand Chamber of Commerce
1.6 Sri Lanka: Prof. Jayaratna Banda Disanayaka, Professor Emeritus, University of Colombo and Former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos
1.7 United Kingdom: Mr. David Kevan, Founder and Partner, Chic Locations

2.Category of International Organisations; Total 3 awards from 3 countries
2.1 China: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (Department of Thai Language, Faculty of Asian Languages and Cultures)
2.2 Japan: Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA)
2.3 Philippines: Philippine Thai Cultural Organization (PTCO)

3.Category of International Tour Operators; Total 14 awards from 9 countries
3.1 Cambodia: Caravan Angkor Tours
3.2 Cambodia: World Pop Travel and Tour Company Limited
3.3 China: Kingdom Travel Services Beijing and Shanghai
3.4 China: Shanghai Ctrip International Travel Service
3.5 China: Shenzhen Overseas International Travel Service, Chengdu Branch
3.6 Italy: Futurviaggi
3.7 Japan: Jumbo Tours
3.8 Korea: Honeymoon Resort
3.9 Malaysia: Airlink Travel & Tours
3.10 Malaysia: HYT Travel Services
3.11 Russia: PAKS
3.12 Switzerland: Tui Suisse Ltd. (Tui Flex Travel)
3.13 Taiwan: Allstate Travel Service
3.14 Taiwan: Comfort Travel Service

4.Category of International Media; Total 12 awards from 12 countries
4.1 China: Yunnan Information Daily (Yunnan Xin Xi Bao)
4.2 Finland: Mr. Antti Helin
4.3 Hong Kong SAR: Mr. Ka Ki Pun, Weekend Weekly Publishing Co., Ltd.
4.4 Iran: Safar Magazine
4.5 Malaysia: Mr. Teoh Weng Kim, PCP Publications
4.6 Romania: Mr. Catalin Gruiea, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Romania and Deputy Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Romania, Sanoma Hearst Romania
4.7 Singapore: Mr. Cowan Floyd Anthony, Asian Journeys
4.8 Sri Lanka: Mr. Frederick Ivan Alvis, The Island Newspaper
4.9 Taiwan: Mr. Lawrence Chen, Chief Editor in Magazine (mml.com.tw), Writer, Blogger
4.10 United Arab Emirates: Mr. Muhannad Qarouni, Al Bayan Newspaper
4.11 United Kingdom: Mr. Peter Grunert, Editor, Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine
4.12 United Sates of America: Mr. James Ruggia, TravAlliancemedia

5.Category of International Airline; Total 2 awards from 2 countries
5.1 Indonesia: Garuda Indonesia
5.2 United States of America: EVA Air

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4544-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand (RPST) is holding a photo contest with the theme being “Colourful Thai Life”

Objective:
This contest aims to publicise images of the enticing characteristics of Thailand from different angles and also, to raise awareness about the Thai lifestyle and the importance of preserving it.
Theme:

Colourful Thai Life
Photograph format:
The photograph must be in a digital format. It can be a digital image file or a scanned image file from a film camera. Also, it must be in colour. A printed photograph will not be eligible.
Eligibility:

The contest is open to anyone regardless of age and gender.
Entry period:

Submission period: 1 May – 30 June 2013
(Deadline for entries is 18.00 Thailand time on 30 June 2013.)
Award and Prizes:
First Prize winner will receive a cash prize of 100,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
First Runner-up will receive a cash prize of 50,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
Second Runner-up will receive a cash prize of 30,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
10 Honorable mentions will each receive a cash prize of 5,000 THB and a certificate from TAT.

Conditions of entry:
  1. The image file must have a high-resolution of no less than 240 dpi and no smaller than 12 x 18 inches (2880 x 4320 pixels).
  2. Photographs can be taken in both digital and film formats. In the case of a film format, it must be transferred to a high-resolution digital image file. Photographs must be taken within 2 years before the contest deadline’s date (30 June 2013). Photographs must be in a landscape format. Portrait, square or panoramic format will not be accepted.
  3. Entrants must complete an entry form with the required information, including your real name (Thai-English), address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Entrants with an incomplete form will be disqualified.
  4. Entrants must submit original photographs taken by them. Submitting someone else’s photograph or submitting it under a different name is prohibited. Those failing to follow the rules will be banned from participating in any of TAT’s and RPST’s contest for 5 years.
  5. Entrants must provide detailed information regarding the location, province and the time the photograph was taken.
  6. The photograph must be in its original composition as when it was captured. Entrants are not allowed to add or remove any of the elements of the original composition. Only cropping, colour-brightness and balance adjustment, and dust removal are allowed. Entrants may submit as many photographs as they want but will be limited to only one prize.
  7. The contest is not open to the committee members of the RPST, contest organisers and photographers of TAT.
  8. Upon submission, TAT has the right to display the photographs at any events and may use the photographs for advertising, publication or anyway deemed promotional to the Tourism Authority of Thailand without any charges.
  9. The judges’ decisions are final. Entrants may not object.

How to submit:

The file must be saved on a Thumb Drive (CD or DVD submission is not accepted) and can be submitted in 3 ways:
  1. Entrants can submit the file themselves at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, 2nd. Floor Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Pathumwan Intersection.
  2. Submit via postal mail: “Colourful Thai Life” Photo Contest’ PO Box 80, Samsen Road, Phayathai, Bangkok 10140, Thailand..
  3. Upload the file onto the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand’s website: www.rpst.or.th

For more information:

Please contact directly at Royal Photographic Society of Thailand ; 091-115-7585

Thailand Wins Best Spa Destination Award (Asia) at 6th GeoSpa AsiaSpa India Awards 2012-2013

(07-05-2013)

The 6th GeoSpa AsiaSpa India Awards were held at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, on 29th April to celebrate the Spa and Wellness industry. Thailand bagged the “Best Spa Destination (Asia)”, Reader’s choice Award voted by the readers of the AsiaSpa India Magazine, which is the most popular spa and wellness magazine in India. Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, received the award on behalf of Thailand.  Also in attendance at the awards ceremony was the Ambassador of Thailand to India, H.E. Pisan Manawapat.

The AsiaSpa awards set a benchmark for originality and acknowledge the finest contributions made to the budding wellness industry. Apart from being a pioneer in this industry and the only spa awards in the region, the validation process is conducted by the reputed audit firm Grant Thornton.

On receiving the award, Ms. Runjuan said, “We are extremely delighted to receive the Best Spa Destination Award in Asia, and what makes this award even more special is that the destination is voted by the readers of the magazine. Thank you very much for voting for us and congratulations to AsiaSpa for organising such a wonderful event.”

This is the 3rd year Thailand has won the award (Thailand was awarded as the Best Spa Destination in Asia in 2008 and 2009).
The show was also attended by Bollywood personalities; such as, Hema Malini, Malaika Arora Khan, Dia Mirza and Arjun Kapoor. The evening was complete with MCs, dance performances and music which made the awards ceremony very enjoyable.
Thailand offers a range of high standard wellness and spa services and the country is known for its hospitality, service, cleanliness and authenticity of the spa treatments. Besides that, the spa designs in Thailand are also very varied and unique and include urban spas, spas in tropical setup, resorts, luxurious, holistic and wellness centres.

For more information about Amazing Thailand, please visit:
Tourism Authority of Thailand
B- 9/1A Vasant Vihar, New Delhi – 110057

Tel: 91 11 46741111, 41663567-9 Fax: 91 11 41663570

Thai Airways International position as a “Golfer Friendly Airlines”

(07-05-2013)

Keeping up the efforts to promote Thailand as a Golf Paradise and to attract the growing golf segment in India, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will collaborate with Thai Airways International to promote Thai Airways International as a “Golf Friendly Airline” by waiving off  fees relating to the Golf Bag on all Thai Airways/THAI Smile routes originating from India to Thailand in selected classes. The offer is valid from 1 May to 31  October 2013.
TAT recently appointed India’s ace golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar to be its Brand Ambassador to promote golf tourism across Thailand in order to project the country as one of the most sought after golfing destinations.
Thai Airways International has 52 flights a week, non-stop from India to Thailand and has been operating to the country for the past 53 years starting with Kolkata. It has operations from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, apart from seasonal services to Varanasi and Gaya. The airline recently launched THAI Smile, a sub brand of Thai Airways which flies a non-stop service twice a week from New Delhi to Phuket, Mumbai to Phuket, and Ahmedabad to Bangkok.
Recently, Thailand hosted the Touché Golf League in Bangkok, Indian Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) tournament in Phuket, and Take Solutions-World Corporate Golf Challenge (WCGC) tournament in Bangkok.

About golfing in Thailand: 

With modern facilities, internationally designed golf courses, championship courses, cost competitiveness, Thai hospitality, and excellent infrastructure, Thailand has become a natural attraction for golfers. At present, there are over 250 courses in Thailand ranging from Bangkok to beach destinations like Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui and Phuket, as well as mountains with natural surroundings in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Khao Yai.  Thailand hosts many golf tournaments including the internationally renowned Honda LPGA and the Royal Trophy – Europe vs. Asia Golf Championship.  With ease and extraordinary service, Thailand is a golfer's paradise.

วันจันทร์ที่ 3 มิถุนายน พ.ศ. 2556

Prime Minister Calls for Balance between Press Freedom and Press Responsibility

(04/06/2013)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has stressed the need for a balance between freedom of the press and media responsibility, saying that freedom without responsibility can sometimes lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and even turmoil.

In her keynote address at the 65th World Newspaper Congress, the 20th World Editors Forum, and the 23rd World Advertising Forum on 4 June 2013 in Bangkok, the Prime Minister said that freedom of the press is not unlimited, even in the advanced democracies. The three events take place at the Bangkok Convention Center, Centara Grand Hotel, from 2 to 5 June 2013.

Prime Minister Yingluck pointed out that a free and responsible press helps keep the public informed and the well-informed citizen is at the heart of understanding each other views. She believed that deep down, humans are good at heart. So by being more understanding, it will not only help solve conflicts but will also bring people closer together.

The Prime Minister stated that there are always considerations given to public interest and order, rights to privacy, and even national security. Moreover, there are third parties willing to distort news and information for their own benefits. So it is also important to have responsibility on the part of the press and media, based on high standards of professionalism and common sense.

She said that the issue concerning the balance between freedom of the press and media responsibility has become more complicated with advances in technology and the opening of new frontiers for media in cyberspace. Print media has made greater use of cyberspace. But this is a channel where there is great potential for both good and misuse. Incorrect information and misleading news can reach a larger number of people much more quickly. And when damage is done, it is almost impossible to reverse the effects. So the close cooperation of the editors is needed to ensure that the news and information in the internet reflects this balance between press freedom and press responsibility for the good of the public.

Prime Minister Yingluck also referred to ASEAN, saying that ASEAN is going to be one of the main engines of growth. With a combined population of 600 million with rising income and purchasing power, the potential for business growth in ASEAN is tremendous. The ten member countries are working hard toward reducing barriers to trade and investment. She is confident that a single ASEAN Community will be achieved as planned in 2015.

The Prime Minister explained that ASEAN is also working to make connectivity a reality. There are many aspects that this region can become connected. First is the physical connectivity. Free flow of goods and services cannot happen without sufficient infrastructure. Since Asia is a land and sea-based continent, connectivity means that people must be able travel and transport efficiently to all logistic hubs and new growth centers.

She said that Thailand is planning to invest 66 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in rail and road links, with a comprehensive network of high speed trains and feeder dual track rails that would connect North-South and East-West neighboring countries. Once completed, there will be high speed trains running through Thailand, Laos, and into China. In time, it will also link South and Central Asia into Russia and Europe.

Sea ports and airports are being improved and new ones planned. The Dawei special economic zone and deep sea port which Thailand is working closely with Myanmar, will open a new gateway to connect India and Sri Lanka and toward the Middle East and Africa.

The second connectivity is people to people. Asia is vast in cultural, political, and economic thinking and ways of life. Diversity can mean strength but it also can lead to conflict and confrontation. She emphasized efforts to create a better understanding between the people, organizations, communities, and societies. So education to enhance common grounds and cultural cooperation to build closer ties is important,

She believed that the news and publishing industries stand at an exciting time. There is growing recognition of the vital role of the media in promoting democracies, economic and social development, as well as understanding between the peoples of all nations.

Thailand Moves to Enhance Strategic Partnership with Africa

(04/06/2013)

As part of the Thai government’s “Look West” policy to engage beyond the Asian region, Thailand intends to enhance strategic partnership with Africa.

Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Jullapong Nonsrichai stated that Thailand continues to attach great importance to Africa, as a continent, as well as relations with individual African countries.

In his statement at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, on 2 June 2013, Mr. Jullapong said that Thailand stands ready to share its best practices in development through the TICAD framework as well as with other development partners.

In the past decades, he said, Thailand provided Africa with scholarships for higher education. Over 700 fellowships are offered annually for International Training Courses on such key areas as sufficiency economy, climate change, food security, and public health. Comprehensive programs on technical cooperation are involved mainly in food and fishery, public health, services, and rural development.

Thailand’s best practice on Sufficiency Economy has contributed to the nation’s sustainable development and the grassroots self-reliance towards a resilient community, a pilot model of the Sustainable Agricultural Learning Centre set up in Lesotho proven to be successful and applicable.

Under the Trilateral Cooperation, Thailand prompts to share its know-how on rice production with Africa through the Coalition for African Rice Development Initiatives.

In support of the Millennium Development Goal 8, Thailand is looking forward to cooperating with Japan and other development partners through TICAD process and beyond, as well as forging a post-2015 development agenda that reflects Africa’s priorities. The Thai government will encourage the Thai private sector to play more active roles in Africa. The time is ripe for Thailand and Africa to elevate our long-term partnership to a higher stratum.

Thailand recently launched the Thai-African Initiative to enhance our long-term engagement with Africa through south-south economic, development, and strategic partnerships.

To invigorate this process, Thailand will convene a Thai-African High-Level Dialogue in November 2013. The Thai-African Initiative presents an opportunity to reflect on the broader vision for an enhanced linkage between Africa and Asia.

Mobile Cabinet Meeting in Kamphaeng Phet Province

(03/06/2013)

Kamphaeng Phet province in the lower North will be the venue for the upcoming mobile Cabinet meeting, the 10th of its kind under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

The mobile Cabinet meeting will take place at Kamphaeng Phet Rajabhat University on 9-10 June 2013. Four provinces, namely Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, and Uthai Thani, will be on the agenda of the meeting.

Four development strategies of the cluster of the four provinces will be discussed, together with preparations for the Government’s 2.2-trillion-baht infrastructure mega-projects, which will help develop this cluster.

In the first strategy, production efficiency of such major crops as rice, sugar cane, and tapioca will be enhanced. The second strategy seeks to add value to agricultural goods and develop agro-processed products. The third one seeks to develop the transport system, production distribution, and logistics services. The fourth strategy calls for the development of eco-tourism, as well as historical and cultural tourism.

The four provinces were told to consider adopting guidelines for agricultural zoning in crop cultivation. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board has coordinated with governors of the four provinces to apply the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy and the concept of royally initiated projects to the solving of local problems.

The economic base of this cluster depends largely on agricultural production, especially rice and field crops, such as sugarcane and tapioca. The strength of this cluster is tourism, with Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Uthai Thani as a magnet for visitors. Huai Kha Kaeng was granted the status of a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park in Kamphaeng Phet province is also listed as a world heritage site.

The cluster of the four provinces plans to seek a budget of 100 million baht from the mobile Cabinet meeting to carry out several projects. These projects involve the setting up of a center for eco-tourism and cultural tourism, the improvement of the Water Bird Park in Nakhon Sawan, the development of various routes leading to tourism attractions in Uthai Thani, and the establishment of an ASEAN learning center at Kamphaeng Phet Rajabhat University. They also include the improvement of water distribution channels for agriculture.

Kamphaeng Phet province, in particular, will propose 100 million baht to develop the old city of “Nakhon Chum,” introduce a new service for tourists visiting the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, establish a center for tapioca development and promotion, and improve the water distribution system to help farmers.

Lying 358 kilometers north of Bangkok, Kamphaeng Phet, is an important archeological site and famous for ancient ruins, such as walls, forts, and temples, reflecting the glory of this old city in the past.