The Immigration Bureau will next week propose to the Cabinet an extension of the waiver on visa fees for 20 nations and territories by a further three months, to July 31. The extension had been due to expire on April 30.
Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn said yesterday that the measure encouraged higher spending by tourists from these countries, estimated at a total of Bt122 billion in the last three months.
Since the measure began on November 15, 2018, 2,346,971 arrivals have come under the scheme as of March 31, including 1,704,539 Chinese, 467,435 Indians, and 174,997 of other nationalities.
While the measure may have costed the bureau Bt4.693 billion in visa fees, it was more than offset by higher spending.
SCB IN PAYMENTS DEAL
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) recently teamed up with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide and a leading company in cross-border money remittances, to provide cash payout remittance services in Thailand.
The agreement allows customers in Thailand to receive money transfers sent from all over the world through Ria with greater convenience. Recipients can collect cash quickly and securely at any of SCB's more than 1,000 branches nationwide without the need for a bank account.
Srihanath Lamsam, executive vice president of Siam Commercial Bank's Payment Product Function Department noted that Thailand is a major Asian nation and the recipient of a large amount of international money transfers, with SCB alone receiving more than 800,000 transactions last year. More than 70 per cent of these transactions come from the US where Ria has a strong retail presence through agents and company-owned stores in addition to their online channels.
STOCKS’ BRIGHT START
The Thai bourse posted positive return in the first quarter despite foreign investors mostly staying on the sidelines, waiting for a clearer picture of domestic and external Issues, according to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
At the end of March, the SET Index rose 4.8 per cent from the end of last year to 1,638.65 points, moving in line with its regional peers, with the average daily trading turnover of Bt41.83 billion, down 10.5 per cent from a month earlier. Agriculture and agro-industry, technology, resources, property and service groups outperformed the SET Index.
Soraphol Tulayasathien, SET’s senior executive vice president, said local institutional investors net bought Thai stocks for a 20th straight month, while March’s daily trading turnover on Thailand Futures Exchange rose 31 per cent from the previous month , reflecting investors’ enhanced risk management.
In the month, foreign investors net sold Thai stocks worth Bt16.44 billion.
At the end of March, dividend yield was 3.16 per cent, higher than Asian bourses’ average at 2.77 per cent. The SET Index’s forward and historical price to earnings ratios, at the end of March, stayed at 14.9 and 17.1 times, compared to Asian bourses’ average at 14 and 16 times.