Give up already, Srettha

Re: "PT rebuffs wallet warning," (BP, Feb 9), "NACC says policy, other risks abound," (BP, Feb 8), & "Soft or hard landing for Thai economy?", (Opinion, Feb 8).

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin should give up trying to flog a dead horse, also known as the B10K digital wallet handout, and move on to more feasible ways of stimulating our economy. We're not in the economic crisis that the Pheu Thai Party/Srettha claim we're in.

As the National Anti-Corruption Commission secretary-general noted, the Bank of Thailand, World Bank and International Monetary Fund all concluded that our economy hasn't reached crisis stage, but remains sluggish.

Supporting this conclusion, our Board of Investments reported that applications for BOI investment promotion hit a five-year high of 848 billion baht in 2023, up 43% from 2022's adjusted number.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand anticipates a resurgence of Chinese tourists in 2024, with a 2024 target of 8.2 million people, generating 450 billion baht in income; this is more than double the estimated 3.5 million Chinese tourists of 2023. In addition, tourist income in secondary cities saw a leap of 40% or more in 2023 over 2022.

The Bank of Thailand forecasts that 2023's GDP rise of 2.4% will be bested by 2024's figure of 3.2%. The World Bank headlined, "Thai Economy to recover in 2024, driven by tourism, exports recovery", with GDP growth forecasts of 2.5% (2023) and 3.2% (2024). Even Srettha's Financial Policy Office forecasts an improved economy, rising from 2.7% (2023) to 3.2% (2024).

I note that instead of answering the NACC's points on their merits, the Pheu Thai Party has brushed them aside, saying the NACC should have waited until damage had been done.

Also, Srettha refuses to present his economic model's critical assumptions for review. For example, what multiplier effect is assumed -- and why? Wouldn't an economically rational person spend much of his windfall gain on reducing his average household debt of B501,711 -- a 16-year high -- or buy at the nearest 7-11 convenience shop, with profits going straight to CP Corp? Move on, Srettha. Surely you have more feasible projects.

Burin Kantabutra

Dual pricing, still, must go

Re: "Foreigner friendly", (PostBag, Jan 30).

The writer makes a good point by saying the entrance fees to national parks for foreigners should be reduced, or brought to the same level that Thais pay. Its bad enough that foreigners are often discriminated against by firms, but by the government? Well, that is unacceptable.

As Mr Saman points out, New Zealand offers free entry for all visitors to New Zealand national parks. And in other Asian nations such as South Korea or Taiwan, the fees are minimal and the same for both citizens and non-citizens alike.

The bottom line is that not enough people are visiting Thai parks, as the fees are too high for both Thais and foreigners alike. So the government needs to do something to attract more people to its nature sites.

Not only does the government need to reduce entrance fees to parks, it also needs to do a better job of keeping the trails in good order, providing both clear directions for the various routes, and ensuring the parks stay clean.


Too much paperwork drama

Re: "Strategy to achieve tourism targets revealed: Ministry tout events, soft power products", (Business, Jan 18).

In light of the big push by the government to increase tourism and tourist spending, I have experienced a rather amazing episode at the Bangkok Bank in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district. Arriving in town with a French tourist here for a week of touring the mountains by motorbike, I left him at the bank door at 3.20pm while I shopped for some household goods.

I returned at 3.35pm to find him outside a now-closed bank but still penniless. The reason he was giving for the refusal to change his Euros was he had no address and no Thai telephone number. As a tourist this is hardly a unique situation. Is Thailand so confident in the Chinese millions that they can make money transactions so difficult?

As an account holder and resident I took £50 from him and went in the next day to complete this simple task. They do know me but it was the usual passport copy including my visa stamp, a request for my home address, a long wait while others were included in the discussions and then my date of birth was needed.

More talk, more typing on machines, a phone call and after a good 10 minutes I finally received the cash. With us both being well-travelled for different businesses we were well aware that Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia manage such simple transactions with nothing like this amount of stupidity and paperwork. Another case of truly Amazing Thailand.

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