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New measures planned to boost economy

Four key government agencies are in the process of working out a major economic stimulus package to boost investor confidence in the face of ongoing political instability. This was announced as part of an order issued by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday.

The order was released after finance-related ministries met yesterday, government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said, adding that the government was also evaluating how the current turmoil has affected the economy.

The key objectives of this stimulus package are to ensure that tourism - a sustainable resource of the country's income - is not affected by the political situation, that the confidence of both Thai and foreign investors remains unaffected and that new jobs can be created.

Yingluck is believed to have raised these ideas in order to show to the world community that Thailand was progressing economically and that travelling around in Bangkok and elsewhere was convenient in general, with the exception of some areas where rallies are being held, Teerat said.

The four agencies working on the package are the Finance Ministry, Tourism and Sports Ministry, Bank of Thailand and Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board. They have been instructed to complete the draft by early next year. Other economics-related ministries have also been told to heed proposals to be submitted by the business sector.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who attended the meeting, said Yingluck had also raised the idea of getting the national carrier to introduce more domestic flights for tourists who land in Bangkok and can be flown to the provinces immediately.

Other measures proposed include holding grand sales at certain locations in Bangkok or promoting the country as a destination for movie productions.

"The government is planning to turn Bangkok into a place where tourists can enjoy the countdown during the cool weather. If possible, I would like to call on protesters to halt their activities during the holiday period," Surapong said, adding that the capital had lost its chance of securing revenue from shopping.

Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said organisers of events and seminars have also been losing business due to the street protests.

Meanwhile, Teerat said Yingluck had asked Surapong to speak to foreign embassies, especially those of Japan and certain European countries, and make them understand that the situation is not serious enough for them to issue travel advisories.


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