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Economy March 14, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

MINT chairman appeals against travel warnings

William Heinecke, chairman of Minor International, has written an open letter to foreign tourism authorities and the ambassadors of all nations represented in Thailand asking them to remove or reword warnings that have been placed, at times unnecessarily and unfairly, on travel to Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. 
“I sincerely thank those who assisted in changing their country’s travel advisories to reflect the true situation, that while disruptions in certain parts of Bangkok were occurring, travel to other parts of the capital and the Kingdom remained trouble-free,” he said.
Official reports state that almost half of the Thai population is employed by the service industry, which creates more than 40 per cent of annual GDP. 
“I am passionate about the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector and how we can actively transform any negative perceptions worldwide that linger from the recent protests,” he wrote. 
Corruption premium  
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said yesterday it would give employees sent to China a wage premium to compensate for the country’s hazardous air pollution, in a possible first for an international company.
The move was part of a wider deal reached in Japan’s annual labour talks that saw major firms, including Panasonic and Toyota, agree to boost salaries for the first time in years, amid concerns about an economic slowdown after a sales-tax rise next month.
A Panasonic spokesman confirmed the pollution-linked pay premium for its expatriate workers, but declined to give further details or say how many such workers it had in China. – AFP 
NBTC posts fee income 
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) reported yesterday that it collected more than Bt87 million last year in revenue from annual licence fees and permission charges related to radio and television broadcasting services. 
NBTC secretary-general Thakorn Tanthasit said radio temporary permission fees amounted to Bt29.9 million while radio and TV broadcast permission fees were Bt11.56 million. 
Revenue collected from annual licence fees was Bt1.85 million.
Permission fees under Section 70 of the Operation of Radio and Television Broadcasting Business Act were Bt41.4 million. The remaining revenue came from other broadcasting permission fees. 
Interest high at ITB 
The Tourism Council of Thailand says there was great interest in the Kingdom at the recent mega travel trade fair ITB Berlin, but most of the inquiries related to the country’s political climate.
TCT president Piyaman Tejapaibul said tourism operators were particularly keen for information about the state of emergency and general safety conditions.
She said it was unclear how many advance hotel bookings were made at one of the world’s leading travel trade shows.
Piyaman stressed, however, that there was industry confidence in Thailand and a willingness to cooperate with the country’s tourism promotions once the situation returned to normal.