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Wrigley's gum goal

Wrigley Company (Thailand) has allocated Bt60 million to launch its Extra Professional spearmint gum, aiming to boost sales by 20 per cent this year.

Country manager Supree Pavaritpong said yesterday that the non-sugar product was developed to cash in on the health consciousness of consumers, especially the young.

The Bt3-billion chewing gum market shows no sign of slowing down and should grow 15 per cent this year, she said. - The Nation

Staff appeal to PM

More than 100 employees of Body Fashion (Thailand), the manufacturer of Triumph-brand lingerie, submitted a complaint to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seeking legal protection.

Body Fashion earlier said it would lay off 1,930 workers.

Led by Boonsueb Kuanfung, the labour union's leader, the workers said the company hadnot followed the employment law in eliminating the jobs.

Some workers were entitled to special compensation. Though the compensation should be paid immediately, the company said it would pay it in August, Boonsueb said. - The Nation

'Import only paddy'

To cope with Asean's liberalisation of the rice trade, the Commerce Ministry will be asked to allow only paddy rice to be imported to prevent insect and plant diseases from coming in.

"The imports of a variety of rice from many countries will damage Thai rice's image," Prasert Gosalvitr, director-general of the Rice Department, said yesterday.

The free flow of rice across borders under the Asean Free Trade Area next year will jeopardise Thai rice, he said.

Limiting imports to only paddy rice will allow the government to control the transfer of insects, plant diseases as well as genetically modified organisms from other Asean members to Thailand.

Besides, the government will not allow local traders to export paddy rice.

The import of Asean rice should be controlled by the Public Warehouse Organisation, he added. - The Nation

Samui tourism slump

Tourist arrivals in Koh Samui have dropped by 40-50 per cent in the first half of the year, due mainly to the global economic crisis and the 2009 influenza outbreak.

Senee Phuwasethavorn, chairman of the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association, said yesterday that most businesses were positive that the situation would improve late this year.

They have joined hands to restore foreign tourist confidence, and some travel agencies have launched promotions on their own, rather than depend on the government's help.

Phanu Worramith, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Surat Thani office, said the decline in tourists to Samui and nearby Koh Pha-Ngan was also due to the airport shutdown late last year.

The situation will improve late this year, thanks to signs of global economic recovery, he said.

The TAT has led the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale in cooperation with the private sector. While hotel room rates have been cut by half, other packages have been put together to draw foreign and local tourists. - The Nation

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