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AIS board names new chief executive

Advanced Info Service's board of directors has appointed chief marketing officer Somchai Lertsutiwong as chief executive officer, replacing Wichian Mektrakarn, who took early retirement, effective on July 1. Wichian still holds a directorship in AIS.

In a separate matter, AIS has expanded its Wi-Fi service to cover 23 of BTS Skytrain stations. It aims to expand Wi-Fi service coverage to 100,000 spots nationwide this year.

SEC promotes retirement funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission has encouraged asset-management companies to set up retirement funds as investment alternatives. Such funds provide unit holders continuous pay-outs and thus help prevent retirees from using up all their savings.

SEC assistant secretary-general Duangmon Chuengsatiansup said retirement funds should invest in assets that were not too risky but offered enough of a return to outpace price increases; accordingly, they should suit retirees with limited investment knowledge.

In Thailand, few retirement funds have been established while the number of retirees is growing rapidly.

Retirement funds will offer investment units to people 55 years old or above and the proceeds will be invested primarily in low-risk assets, including government or corporate bonds and deposits. The asset-management companies might offer investors certain options on terms and pay-out periods or allow them to customise their own conditions - pay-outs of Bt5,000 a month until reaching 80 years of age or Bt10,000 per quarter until death, for instance.

Retired members obtaining money from provident funds can continue to invest in their retirement funds to receive regular and constant income. Aside from the investment returns, the funds might offer other privileges such as health insurance or annual health check-ups.

Asiatique bazaar next weekend

Asiatique The Riverfront, a shopping complex on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, is offering a collaboration of celebrity-owned shops, more than 250 online stores featuring leading brands, and more than 300 shops in its Fashion Zone.

Clothing, shoes, bags and accessories will be displayed in an exclusive setting at the "Asiatique Bangkok O' Bazaar" will be held from June 27-29, from 4-10pm.

Chiang Mai beckons Japanese tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is working to enhance the Japanese long-stay market in Chiang Mai.

The TAT recently hosted a long-stay forum in cooperation with five leading travel agencies in Japan, bringing about 300 potential tourists, including people nearing retirement, from Japan to the province. They surveyed travel routes and the readiness of accommodations and related facilities such as spa centres and hospitals, as well as tourism attractions in Chiang Mai.

Srisuda Wanapinyosak, TAT's executive director for East Asia, said the authority planned to encourage the Japanese long-stay tourist market, with the target of Chiang Mai province as the key destination. There is currently a strong base of between 20,000 and 30,000 Japanese tourists enjoying long stays in Thailand.

Chiang Mai itself has strong base of facilities for the convenience of tourists.

"We have seen that different from other tourists, long-stay tourists from Japan have not felt any impact from the local political problems. They are still confident and studying information on taking long trips overseas. Thailand should provide better support to this potential market as according to the latest survey, Japanese tourists still see Malaysia as the No 1 destination for their long-stay trips, while Thailand is second," Srisuda said.



Spa with Asian twist

Boutique resort operator AHMS Collection has created Ayurah Wellness Centre, a new twist on the Asian spa experience as part of the rebirth of Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga resort.

The firm says Ayurah sets a high-water mark for what a new spa should be, offering a cutting-edge range of treatments and a philosophy of "wellness that works", utilising the best of modern medical wisdom and time-honoured traditional Thai treatments and world-class beauty practices.




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