Private sector drafting proposals for state's consideration

Private sector drafting proposals for state's consideration

A group of leading businesses next week is scheduled to bring proposals to the government for stimulating the local economy and offsetting the impact of the global slowdown, the ongoing trade war, the stronger baht and tech disruption.

Amid a spate of risk factors threatening the country's exports, the government needs to rev up promoting the local economy, especially for tourism, said Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

"Only the tourism sector can now help buoy the Thai economy," he said.

According to Mr Kalin, tourism and related businesses generated as much as 3.1 trillion baht last year, with hotels and resorts making up 25.8%, followed by shopping (24.3%), food and beverage (21.2%), entertainment (11.8%) and local transport (9.9%). Travel agents and other parties contributed the rest.

Mr Kalin said related businesses like hotel and resort construction and farm products will benefit if the government comes up with new incentives to support and upgrade the tourism sector.

The government and the private sector are discussing plans to organise walking streets in Bangkok, including along Yaowarat and Khao San roads on Sunday evenings, and in historical cities like Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.

On Nov 14, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government was set to revise the perks for investment in tourism and related services.

Officials also pledged to introduce additional short-term measures to stimulate tourism during the high season this year and the first quarter next year to help the overall economy, Gen Prayut said.

In a related development, Mr Kalin said the Thai Chamber of Commerce will hold its 37th annual seminar Nov 27-Dec 1 in Lampang under the theme "Thaitay in Action".

Members of the chamber nationwide will discuss trade and investment, agriculture and food, and tourism and services to increase Thailand's competitiveness.

The chamber will submit a white paper to the government on the Thai economy after the seminar.

The Thaitay concept involves solutions to motivate the local economy through the uniqueness of communities, mixing innovation and technology with storytelling.

Creative use will develop different products and services. An increase in income in local communities will help reduce income disparity.

Separately, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) yesterday reported its business confidence index, a gauge of nationwide business sentiment.

The UTCC said business sentiment plunged to its lowest level in 22 months in October as the sector fretted over the ongoing trade war, the Brexit impasse and the problem of PM2.5 dust particles in the air.

The index fell for the eighth straight month in October to 46 after a 46.2 reading in September.

"Businesses remain worried about the negative impact of the escalating trade row between the US and China, the Brexit deadlock, the recent US GSP suspension valued at $1.3 billion and the National Economic and Social Development Council's lower economic growth forecast," said Thanavath Phonvichai, vice-president of the UTCC.

Domestic consumption remained poor, he said, and the business sector saw tighter financial liquidity.

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