On Wednesday 14 January iTravel was privileged to cover the grand opening ceremony of the 2015 ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign, an innovative new initiative which aims to promote and preserve Thai culture and boost tourism to the country. The ceremony took place in front of the Siam Discovery Centre on Rama I Road and was followed by a colourful 3.5 kilometre parade through the streets of Bangkok, a dazzling spectacle which included vibrant cultural shows, elaborate floats and exquisitely dressed dancers and performers.
Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha today presided over the grand opening of the “2015 Discover Thainess” global tourism marketing campaign, which was presented in a spectacular parade in the centre of Bangkok with vibrant colours and will create wonderful memories for visitors.
Thailand recently won the “Best Asia-Pacific Destination” award and also received the runner-up title for “Best Worldwide Sun Destination” at the 23rd Irish Travel Trade Awards 2014, which were held on 28 November at the Double Tree by Hilton in Dublin, and attended by about 300 industry professionals.
Thailand won the hearts of the Irish travel industry professionals in the Best Asia-Pacific Destination category, among five other nominees – Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. In the Best Worldwide Sun Destination category, Mexico was named the winner and Thailand the runner-up, with other nominees in this award being Dubai, Spain and Turkey.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has been presented with an award for Outstanding Tourism Promotion Agency in Northern India (The Best International Tourism Board – North) for 2014.
Thailand is celebrating the New Year with good news. The country has just been listed as one of the world’s 25 best places to retire to in 2015 by International Living, a North American-based magazine for retirees.
To celebrate the grand opening celebration of the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has rescheduled the country’s biggest tourism event, the Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF), to be held during 14-18 January, 2015, at LumpiniPark, Bangkok.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said, “The TTF is normally held in June in conjunction with the country’s largest travel trade fair, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus. But 2015 is a very special year for Thailand’s tourism, so we have rescheduled the dates to coincide with the grand opening celebration of the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign to showcase our unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of happiness to international visitors, as well as to encourage the Thai people to take part in the preservation of Thai traditions and culture.”
In 2015, the TTF marks its 35th anniversary and forms part of the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign in offering a showcase of the kingdom’s glorious centuries-old culture and rich natural heritage that can be classified into five categories, or five major regions of Thailand – Central Region, North, Northeast, East and South.
Mr. Thawatchai said, “During the five-day festival, local and international visitors will have the chance to immerse themselves in Thainess or the Thai way of life through observation and participation in various activities available at the five uniquely-designed Thailand tourism villages. At the same time, visitors can take part in the TAT’s 55th anniversary and the LumpiniPark’s 90th anniversary celebrations. The TTF 2015 is a festival that should not be missed.”
The five cultural villages will showcase the variations in the Thai way of life from the five regions of Thailand. Each is designed to evoke the distinct atmospheres of the region it represents.
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, General Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed condolences for the victims of the attack in Paris on the office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in which 12 people were killed.
“I am profoundly shocked and saddened to learn of the brutal attack on the office of the French magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris. I wish to convey our deepest sympathy and condolences to Your Excellency, and, through you, to the bereaved families of the victims”, Gen Prayut wrote in a letter to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
“Thailand strongly condemns this act of terrorism” he said. “All perpetrators must be brought to justice. We stand in solidarity with the people of the French Republic in this moment of mourning”, stated PM Gen Prayut.
On 5 December 2014, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajarakitiyabha Mahidol participated in the first event to mark World Soil Day and the launch of the International Year of Soils 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. H.E. Mr. Norachit Sinhaseni, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand, was the Co-Chair and moderator of the event.
On this auspicious occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajarakitiyabha Mahidol delivered the Royal Message of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej entitled “Healthy soils for a healthy life” which emphasized the central role of soil to human survival. Today, the world is confronted with 2 soils-related challenges: first, the degradation of fertile soils due to wasteful use and mismanagement and second, the problem of infertility in the types of soil making it unfit for cultivation. These challenges have direct repercussions on global food security. And in order to ensure food security and long-term sustainability of ecosystem, they must be addressed as an urgent priority with the commitment to adopt the best practices in soil conservation, soil reconditioning and enrichment to make it fit and ready for cultivation.
In addition, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th session of the General Assembly, and H.E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council, sent their best wishes and messages to be delivered at the event. H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations and Mr. Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, United States Department of Agriculture delivered their remarks. There were also VDO messages from Mr. José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and Ms. Monique Barbut, Executive-Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
During the interactive session, participants from Member States, United Nations organizations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders joined in to emphasize the problem of soil degradation which affects many countries around the world and have direct repercussion of global food and nutrition security. They also agreed that sustainable soil management is central to conservation of soil quality and that climate change affects geographical landscape and soil condition which require sound management of soil.
On December 20, 2013, the 68th UN General Assembly recognized December 5th, 2014 as World Soil Day and 2015 as the International Year of Soils. This official recognition of these events will emphasize the importance of soils beyond the soil science community. It took two years for the leadership of Thailand and the FAO Global Soil Partnership (GSP) to get these dates approved by the UN.
The Ministry of Commerce of Thailand organized a briefing session on the review of the Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 on 26 November 2014 at the Ministry of Commerce, in order to provide greater clarity and understanding on the review of the FBA. The session was attended by representatives from numerous embassies, foreign chambers of commerce, and foreign investors in Thailand.
Gen. Chatchai Suriyakulya, the Minister of Commerce of Thailand, explained that there were concerns from foreign investors regarding the review of the Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542, there were also a number of the meetings between the ministry’s executive and representative from various embassies, foreign chamber of commerce, and foreign investors where the aforementioned matter were raised and detailed information were sought by the representatives. To address and alleviate such concerns, the briefing session was held today with a view to provide an opportunity to for the stakeholders to carry out in-depth discussion to ensure that the representatives and foreign investors received clear answers and attained greater clarity and understanding.
The Minister of Commerce reiterated that the government’s policies on foreign investment include (1) Investment promotion (2) simplification of procedures for business operation and (3) facilitation of trade and investment. Thailand is currently undergoing a national reform process to enhance the country’s competitiveness and promote trade and investment. It must be pointed out that review of relevant laws are part of this process. In this connection, the Foreign Business Act is one of legislations to be studied by the Ministry of Commerce with a view to enhancing the legislation in accordance with the international practice, without leaving a negative impact on the investment climate.
The study for the enhancement of the Foreign Business Act, which will be concluded in December this year, will determined issues that are in accordance with the government’s policy regarding foreign investment and could be undertaken by the current government.
Nevertheless, the Thai government has a clear policy to promote international trade and foreign investment in accordance with good governance principles. As such, the consideration on the review of the Foreign Business Act must be done with utmost caution, with attention and care on the timing, so as to create an investment climate where all stakeholders would benefit.
For the first half of 2014, the value of foreign direct investment through the Board of Investment was recorded at 239.10 billion baht, accounting for 70.9% of the total investment which was recorded at 337.42 billion baht.
Thai Ambassador gives presentation on the ASEAN Community at the International Trade Forum “ManzanilloXport” in Manzanillo, Mexico
On 21 November 2014, H.E. Chirachai Punkrasin, Ambassador of Thailand to Mexico representing the ASEAN Committee in Mexico City, gave a presentation on “the ASEAN Community” to Mexican exporters and students at the International Trade Forum “ManzanilloXport 2014”in the port city of Manzanillo. Manzanillo is situated on the Pacific coast and serves as the main port of Mexico for commercial exchanges with Asia.
During the conference, H.E. Chirachai Punkrasin highlighted the increasing importance of ASEAN in the global economy, as the grouping is moving towards a single market and production base in 2015. The geographical situation of ASEAN at the heart of the Asia Pacific region and its expanding network of free trade agreements with other major economies have made ASEAN an attractive and ideal hub for trade and investment. Mexican companies were encouraged to visit the region to further explore business opportunities with ASEAN.
In addition to the Thai Ambassador, Ambassadors of the Republic of Korea and Panama also attended the Forum as this year’s special guest countries.
H.E. Chirachai Punkrasin, Ambassador of Thailand to Mexico, along with the Ambassador of Indonesia and representatives of the Embassies of the Philippines and Viet Nam, paid a joint visit to Sonora as members of the ASEAN Committee in Mexico City, on 2-5 November 2014.
The ASEAN Diplomatic Delegation paid a courtesy call on the Governor of the State of Sonora and met with the State’s Economic Secretary and high-level officials of the Tourism Promotion Commission (COFETUR) and the Sonoran Cultural Institute, with an aim to strengthen ties and seek opportunities for cooperation in trade, investment as well as in the area of cultural exchanges, tourism promotion and academic cooperation. The ASEAN Diplomatic Delegation also visited the robot engineering company “ProAutomation” and the cutting and welding plant “Victor Technologies”.
Reception in celebration of the auspicious occasion of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 87th Birthday Anniversary in Mexico
On 1 December 2014, The Royal Thai Embassy in Mexico City hosted a reception to celebrate the auspicious occasion of the 87th birthday anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The reception was held at Presidente Intercontinental hotel and was attended by over 300 guests including Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, the Thai community in Mexico, representatives from the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, members of Congress and representatives from the Thai-Mexican Parliamentary Friendship Group, the press, and Mexican companies doing business with Thailand.
In his remarks, Mr. Chirachai Punkrasin, Ambassador of Thailand to Mexico, highlighted important developments in Thailand-Mexico relations in recent years, the 40th anniversary of Thailand-Mexico diplomatic relations in 2015, and the inauguration of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
On 22 November 2014, the Royal Thai Embassy in Mexico, in collaboration with the other four Embassies of ASEAN countries in Mexico City – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, held the 2014 ASEAN Bazaar at the shopping mall Galerías Plaza de las Estrellas. The ASEAN Bazaar is one of the main events organized annually by the ASEAN Committee in Mexico City with a view to enhance knowledge of Mexican people about ASEAN and ASEAN countries as well as to raise funds for charities in Mexico, as a way to strengthen friendship and solidarity between the peoples of ASEAN and Mexico.
The Bazaar featured food, arts & crafts, as well as cultural performances and fashion show from the four ASEAN countries. Thailand was present with Thai food, Thai fruit carving, Muay Thai show, Thai massage, as well as sale of Thai silk products and handicrafts, all of which have received great interest from the Mexican public.
See more photos: www.facebook.com/thaiembmex
Remarks by H.E. Chirachai Punkrasin, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand, on the occasion of the 87th Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
Remarks by H.E. Chirachai Punkrasin,
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand,
on the occasion of the 87th Birthday Anniversary of
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand,
Presidente InterContinental Hotel, Mexico City, 1 December 2014
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the Mexican Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this Reception marking the 87th Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. His Majesty the King has reign for over 68 years as a unifying figure for the Thai people and revered for the moral authority he provides for the nation. The Thai people also celebrate this occasion annually as Thailand’s National Day. It is an honor for me to be here once again, celebrating our National Day in Mexico, a country that has always remained a good friend to the Kingdom of Thailand.
Thailand and Mexico has always maintained friendly relations and our friendship is only growing closer with time. Under the leadership of His Excellency President Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico has been reaching out to Asia, a move that is welcomed in Thailand, which is at the same time, reaching out to Latin America. In fact, the Prime Minister of Thailand, General Prayuth Chan-o-cha and President Enrique Pena Nieto recently met at the meeting with the APEC Business Advisory Council during the APEC Summit in Beijing two weeks ago, during which they had the opportunity to discuss the reforms taking place in both Thailand and Mexico.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the past two years as Ambassador in Mexico, I have seen some very positive developments in the relations between our two countries. In October 2013, the then Foreign Minister of Thailand, Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul, and Secretary Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña held a meeting while attending the APEC Summit in Bali, during which both parties reaffirmed the commitments of Thailand and Mexico in strengthening their relationship. The Thai-Mexican Parliamentary Friendship Group from the Thai Parliament also visited Mexico in July last year to meet with their Mexican counterparts. In October this year, the foreign ministries of Thailand and Mexico held the 1st Political Consultations at the SRE in Mexico City where both countries exchanged views on matters of common interest and opportunities for further cooperation. This is a significant step as we forge ahead into our 40th year of diplomatic relations in 2015. Next year, we look forward to even more productive meetings in various sectors, both private and public, as well as high level visits that will lead to substantive and concrete developments in our bilateral ties. A relationship that will truly further the benefits of both Thais and Mexicans alike.
Trade and investment between Thailand and Mexico have also seen positive developments, with a sharp increase in trade over the last five years. Mexico is currently Thailand’s second largest trade partner in Latin America. Since 2009, the volume of two-way trade has more than doubled and according to figures from the Mexican Secretariat of the Economy, our trade in 2013 reached 4.7 billion US dollars – a 12 per cent growth from the previous year. This past October, the Embassy, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, invited a Thai business delegation representing the energy, food, and financial sectors to Mexico where they had the opportunity to meet with the Mexican business community in Mexico City and Monterrey to discuss trade opportunities. In fact, this was the second business delegation from Thailand to come to Mexico in 2014, which is a good indicator of Thailand’s interest in doing business with Mexico and we will continue to pursue opportunities in the coming year.
The promotion of people-to-people relations is another area of importance to the Embassy. We believe that through education, culture and sports we can overcome the barrier of distance and foster better understanding among our peoples. For over 30 years, Thailand and Mexico have had cultural and educational exchanges in order to promote knowledge and awareness of the two countries at the people level. During the past few years, the Royal Thai Embassy undertook several projects ranging from academic exchanges to the promotion of Thai cuisine and Thai boxing or Muay Thai, which have constantly been growing in popularity and interest in Mexico. We will continue our efforts in reaching out to the Mexican public through education and culture.
As I have just mentioned, 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Mexico, and therefore will be a special one for both countries. Given the cordial and friendly relations we’ve had over the decades, both Thailand and Mexico are planning on a number of activities to commemorate this occasion. The Royal Thai Embassy in Mexico is planning a number of events including seminars, photo exhibitions, Thai boxing workshops, and culinary events, among others.
Next year, countries in Southeast Asia will also mark the beginning of the ASEAN Economic Community where the ten countries of ASEAN will integrate into a single market of 625 million people, making it the ninth largest economy in the world. Since its founding in 1967, ASEAN has been, and continues to be, a cornerstone of Thailand’s foreign policy. Thailand was among the 5 founding members of ASEAN, which, from a loose association in 1967, has since transformed into a rules-based regional organization with the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter in 2008. The achievement of an ASEAN Economic Community will be another milestone in our common journey to promote peace, security and prosperity in our region. Therefore, we certainly have plenty of things to look forward to in 2015. We look forward to welcoming Mexicans to take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge in our region.
I wish to turn your attention briefly to the developments in Thailand during the past twelve months. As you may be aware, from late last year to the middle of this year, Thailand had been under increasing tensions leading to prolonged political deadlock and administrative paralysis, which had been highly detrimental to the nation’s stability. Given the situation, the military was compelled to take control of the national administration in order to provide a cooling-off period for all sides and prevent further deterioration of the situation. As tensions eased in the second half of this year and national administration had returned to normal, Thailand set out on its 3-phase roadmap to restore democracy to the country. The first phase – the drafting of an Interim Constitution – had already been completed and we are now in the second phase, which is the implementation of the much needed reforms and the drafting of a new permanent constitution. In roughly a year from now, we expect to enter the third and final phase – the holding of general elections which will bring us to afully democratic regime with His Majesty the King as Head of State.Thailand understands that friends and allies have been watching the progress of the roadmap with interest and concern. We are also pleased that many, including Mexico, have shown understanding and support for our efforts to restore a strong and sustainable democracy to Thailand.
In a little over two years, I have had the opportunity to travel around this beautiful country and have always been warmly received by the Mexican people wherever I went. Touched by their friendship and encouraged by their interest in Thailand, I am confident that the ties between our two countries are not only strong but also one that can be broadened and deepened.
Therefore, may I now invite you to raise a toast to the health of His Majesty the King of Thailand, to the health of His Excellency the President of the United Mexican States, and to the lasting friendship between the Kingdom of Thailand and the United Mexican States.
Viva México, Viva Tailandia.