Tourism, trade MoUs to bolster Kazakh ties

Tourism, trade MoUs to bolster Kazakh ties

Thai investors enjoy Astana, Almaty trip

Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee
Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee

The government is confident that tourism and trade between Thailand and Kazakhstan will improve after the two governments sign three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in April, said Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee on Sunday.

Mr Jakkapong and Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol led a group of Thai investors to Astana, the Kazakh capital, and Almaty, its largest city, on Friday.

They visited various food manufacturers and economic sites in Almaty. They also stopped at nearby Shymbulak Mountain Resort, a ski resort billed as the biggest in Central Asia, to learn about the country's promotion of ecotourism.

Ski resorts are one of the magnets that attract visitors to Kazakhstan during the winter, said Mr Jakkapong, adding the country also now has many attractions during summer, leading to a rapid increase in international visitors.

He said Kazakhstan also is one of the newest markets for Thailand's tourism industry.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, more than 172,000 Kazakhs entered Thailand last year alone, he said, adding most Kazakh travellers in Thailand are families and couples.

They stayed on average for 14 days, mostly in beach resorts, spending about 75,000 baht per person, he said, adding Thailand expects to welcome more than 200,000 Kazakh tourists this year.

The visit to Kazakhstan, said Mr Jakkapong, was a chance for Thailand to look at how it is encouraging more investment and trade opportunities from the kingdom.

The three MoUs, to be signed by both countries' foreign affairs ministers in April, will provide a clearer direction on trade and tourism, he added.

Thailand's Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Lt Chatchawan Sakornsin, added the MoU, as well as the six-month extension of the visa exemption policy for Kazakh tourists, will improve trade between both countries.

Chanintr Chalisarapong, of the Board of Trade of Thailand's Executive Committee, said it was unexpected to see Kazakhstan has so much potential for business development.

It was a good opportunity for Thai investors to promote not only their own tourism industry but also their wellness, food and agricultural products to the people of Kazakhstan.

In other news, the Commerce Ministry recently discussed the promotion of the government's soft power with Parson Lam Chun Wah, director-general of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) of Bangkok, ministry spokesman Chai Watcharonke said on Sunday.

Both sides agreed on the need to promote Thai goods and service exports, he said.

HKETO Bangkok has worked with the government on trade cooperation many times to inform the people of Hong Kong about the quality of Thai goods and services, he said.

It also helped support Thai investment in Hong Kong, with a 43% growth in Thai fashion sales and 55% in jewellery sales seen last year, he said.

"The government is glad the Hong Kong government supports Thai investment, as it has helped strengthen both countries' economies," according to Mr Chai.

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