PM keen on aviation hub game plan

PM keen on aviation hub game plan

Eyes reciprocal visa exemptions with EU

The government aims to make Thailand an Asian aviation hub and is seeking to hold talks with European countries for reciprocal visa exemptions, according to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

In his keynote speech delivered at "Thailand 2024 The Great Challenges", the premier said tourism is one of the government's core policies and several measures including visa exemption programmes have been introduced to help elevate the industry in Thailand.

He said Thailand and China will sign a reciprocal visa exemption programme this week and the government plans to pursue talks with the European Union over a similar deal between Thailand and Schengen countries.

Mr Srettha said the government will upgrade the country to an Asian aviation hub, an ambition that would involve streamlining immigration procedures, overhauling flights and building airports in secondary cities.

He stressed the importance of expanding economic and other opportunities afforded to Thais by key large-scale projects, citing the past Thaksin Shinawatra government's decision to proceed with the construction of Suvarnabhumi airport.

"Over the past two decades we had governments that saw opportunities and seized them," he said.

Touching on the Land Bridge megaproject, Mr Srettha once again promised to listen to opinions from all stakeholders including potential investors and local residents.

The 1-trillion-baht project, aimed at developing a logistics network connecting Ranong with Chumphon, was showcased at three international events: the Apec Summit in San Francisco, the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit in Japan and the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We listen to not only the public, but also investors and it's the government's job to weigh if what they want are positive or negative to the people," he said.

He urged concerned parties to think about opportunities the Suvarnabhumi airport has brought to the country when considering the Land Bridge project.

He insisted the government welcomes investors from every country equally.

He also touched on the policy of tripling farmers' incomes in four years, but without intervening in prices or by offering subsidies. Instead, more opportunities will be created through product development, he said.

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