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TAT sees improvement after downgrade in HK

The Tourism Authority of Thailand believes Thailand's tourism scene will improve after Hong Kong downgraded its travel warning yesterday from the highest level "Black" to "Yellow".

Black is to avoid all travel, while Yellow is to monitor the situation and exercise caution.

Sugree Sithivanich, TAT's deputy governor for marketing communications, said the move would be a good sign for the country's overall tourism. Visitors will have more confidence in travelling here while travel insurance will become easier to get. In general, travel insurance does not cover any loss or damage to travellers caused by political chaos.

He is confident that Songkran this year would be dynamic with more than 4.4 million revellers, both Thais and foreigners, expected to celebrate the festival.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, welcomed Hong Kong's relaxation of its travel alert. The association will send letters to counterparts in China to update them on the situation here. Within two weeks, Chinese tourists would start coming back, especially during Songkran, with 40-50 per cent of total arrivals compared to the normal situation.

After the Thai government revoked the state of emergency, Chinese tourists feel safer. The association plans to go to China to promote tourism products there and restore confidence of the people there.

Even though there is a good trend of Chinese travellers flowing into the Kingdom, their numbers are not big enough to stimulate the overall industry, he added.

PHUKET AIMS FOR

BT729M BIOFUEL PLANT

The resort island may be in for a cleaner and greener future as local officials plan to request Bt729 million to build a biofuel production facility.

"Organic waste from the entire province will be sent to the plant. It will be processed and turned into biofuel and the leftover matter subsequently turned into compost," Provincial Administration Organisation president Paiboon Upatising said at the final public environmental impact assessment hearing on Friday.

Paiboon urged locals and community leaders to support the biofuel project, arguing that it would benefit everyone |by creating a cleaner environment and assisting in waste management on the island.

"We must all work together to establish an effective waste-management system. This facility is only one piece of the puzzle. We must commit to preserving our environment," he said.

The next step is to apply for the budget with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said Siwaporn Pitiphat of the Phuket PAO. - Phuket Gazette

WHA SEEKS NOD TO

BT4-BN BOND ISSUE

WHA Corporation Plc, a developer of built-to-suit warehouses, distribution centres and factories, will seek shareholders' approval next month to issue debentures worth up to Bt4 billion.

Proceeds would be spent on expansion, CEO Somyos Anantaprayoon said.

This year the company plans to increase warehouse space by 300,000 square metres to 1.2 million sqm for rent.

"We expect this year's rental and service income will grow by 50 per cent," he said.

The company would diversify into developing built-to-suit offices and would continue penetrating overseas countries, especially in Southeast Asia. The investment plan is expected to become apparent by next quarter.

WHA will join with the Stock Exchange of Thailand and CLSA on a stock roadshow to the EU in May, followed by Japan in July with DB Tisco and the US in October with Nomura.

Surin first Thai to speak at global TESOL convention

Dr Surin Pitsuwan, former secretary-general of Asean, has been invited to

give the opening plenary speech at the International TESOL Convention and

Exhibition in Portland, Oregon, next Wednesday.

US-based Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Inc |

(TESOL), one of the world's largest associations of English-language |

teachers, holds a convention and exhibition with thousands of participants

every year. This year's theme is "English Language Teaching for the Next

Generation".

Dr Surin, an advocate for peace and a driving force behind the Asean

Economic Community, is the first Thai and the first Asian invited to deliver |

an opening plenary presentation at the annual TESOL convention. His |

talk is titled "English as a Powerful Instrument of Community Building in East

Asia".





BTS, GLAND form joint venture

BTS Group Holdings and Grand Canal Land have invested on 50:50 basis in a

joint-venture company named Bayswater Co Ltd, which is intended to be used

as the vehicle through which BTS and GLAND will develop a specific property

project.

The initial capital of the joint venture is Bt10 million, divided into 100,000

ordinary shares with par value of Bt100 each.





Anti-dumping duties on steel may be raised

The Foreign Trade Department is reviewing the anti-dumping duties

imposed on steel imports from China and South Korea after Thai manufactur

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