Prime Minister Highlights Efforts to Advance Human Rights and Equity26 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced new measures to enhance human rights protection in the country. Speaking on Wednesday, the prime minister said the government is working to improve public health and pensions, reform prisons, and deter sexual assault and forced disappearances.Gen. Prayut stated that a project to strengthen the public health system utilizing cloud computing was recently approved by the Cabinet, citing the significance of human security as a critical factor for Thailand’s future. This enables hospitals to track each patient’s medical history, including diagnoses and treatments, allowing patients to receive care at their preferred locations.The Cabinet also approved ministerial regulations to increase the National Savings Fund’s pension scheme to encourage people to save more for retirement, as well as passing legislation to increase penalties for repeat sexual assault offenders and another law that increases penalties for those linked to forced disappearances.According to Gen Prayut, these laws aim to ensure safety in society and protect human rights in line with international principles.The prime minister noted that the legal system is also undergoing more reforms, including the acceleration of court proceedings and the reduction of prison terms for those convicted of minor offenses.
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Bangkok, Chonburi, and Songkhla to Host SEA Games 202526 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) announced during a meeting this week that Bangkok, Chonburi, and Songkhla provinces have been chosen as venues for the 33rd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2025. The teleconference meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and attended by Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and SAT Governor Kongsak Yodmanee.The 33rd SEA Games, which is a biennial multi-sport event, will take place from December 9th to 20th, 2025. The event will bring together participants from the 10 ASEAN members as well as Timor-Leste.Additionally, the meeting selected Nakhon Ratchasima as the host for the 13th ASEAN Para Games. These games will be held from January 20th to 26th, 2026, and will feature sports events for athletes with disabilities.This is the first time that Thailand will host SEA Games since 2007 and ASEAN Para Games since 2015. It is expected that the events will provide a boost to the country’s sports industry and tourism sector.
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Prime Minister Calls for Action Against VVIP Police Misconduct26 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned that any police officers found to have offered "VVIP" services to tourists will be punished according to the law.The warning follows a viral Facebook post exposing the illegal service, in which immigration officers were caught fast-tracking a Chinese tourist’s entry into the country and escorting her to her hotel destination in a police motorcade. The service, which has reportedly been on offer for 10 years, has caused public outrage and led to an investigation being conducted by the Royal Thai Police (RTP).National Police Chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said he has ordered an investigation into the unapproved police escort and immigration service being sold online. He added that an investigation panel, headed by a police inspector-general, is currently looking into the woman’s claim that she paid Thai police for the VVIP treatment at Suvarnabhumi airport.Pol Gen Damrongsak stated that there may be other people colluding with the accused officers and that the panel would be looking into all issues involved. He also reminded the public that the RTP has clear guidelines and criteria for police motorcades and that the police motorcade seen in the video did not match any of the criteria and that those involved acted of their own volition.The video of the incident, which was posted on a Chinese social media platform, has since gone viral and has received a torrent of criticism from Thai viewers.
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Health Ministry Sets Up Haze Disaster Operation Centers in Affected Provinces26 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has set up 24/7 command centers to address the haze disaster in affected provinces, with hospitals in impacted areas asked to increase capacity for the rising cases of respiratory diseases.The Ministry of Public Health has announced its measures to address this year’s haze disaster, with the provincial public health offices closely monitoring the level of air quality and taking appropriate measures according to the situation. Provinces in which the level of air quality exceeds the safety threshold are instructed to activate their provincial operation center (OC) to address the situation.According to the Permanent Secretary of Public Health Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, the provincial operation centers will be activated once the level of airborne Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) ranges between 37.6 and 50 micrograms per cubic meter. These operation centers are responsible for communicating with local communities on health impacts and personal protection.Provinces that experience airborne PM 2.5 levels exceeding 51 micrograms per cubic meter for more than 3 consecutive days should consider activating the provincial Public Health Emergency Operation Center, in order to address the situation more effectively.24 provinces in Thailand are now within the criteria of activation, namely Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Phayao, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Lopburi, Saraburi, Ang Thong, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Suphan Buri, Samut Prakan, Chonburi, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Khon Kaen, and Bangkok. The Ministry of Public Health has seen increasing cases of diseases related to air pollution, with the weekly number of cases logged at 212,674 as of 24 January, which is higher than the previous week at 96,109 cases. Most of the cases reported are respiratory diseases, skin inflammations, and conjunctivitis.The ministry has ordered all healthcare facilities to ensure preparedness to treat more cases, which include symptoms such as irritations, difficulty breathing, headaches, and nausea. People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention if the symptoms do not go away on their own.
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BMA tightens COVID-19 Measures Ahead of Large Tour Groups Arriving From February26 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Large tour groups are expected to arrive in Thailand in numbers starting on February 1. This will be especially true for tour groups from China, which will arrive in Thailand starting on February 6. Thailand remains among the preferred destinations for Chinese travelers and preparations are being made to accommodate foreign tourists in light of the Covid situation.Deputy Bangkok Governor Tavida Kamolvej held a meeting of Bangkok City Hall’s emergency health situation monitoring center to follow up on the COVID-19 situation. The meeting sought to make preparations for healthcare services for foreign tourists and prevent the spread of Covid. Bangkok’s district offices have been assigned to be strict with venues that offer services to tourists. The venues must comply with public health requirements and conduct operations in accordance with the the Safety & Health Administration (SHA) standard. Employees must have received 4 doses of Covid vaccine and must be subject to random ATK tests.Asst. Prof. Tavida mentioned the decline in the number of Covid hospital admissions, critical patients, and deaths. Despite this improvement, the number of travelers arriving from abroad will continue to increase. Dr. Tavida, therefore, said vaccine booster shot administering and personal protection measures will help mitigate the spread of Covid. She noted that service providers in the tourism sector should be adequately vaccinated. Disease screening and Covid-free Setting measures will continue to be implemented at popular tourism attractions. Meanwhile, hotels and restaurants are to operate in compliance either with the SHA and SHA Plus standards.
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Thailand Beats 2022 Tourism Target With 11.15 Million Foreign Arrivals25 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - In 2022, Thailand saw a significant increase in foreign visitors, with a total of 11.15 million people traveling to the kingdom. This was a significant jump from the previous year, when just 428,000 visitors were recorded due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.According to data from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the figure exceeded the government’s expectations and marks a strong recovery for Thailand’s vital tourism industry, which had been heavily impacted by strict entry and quarantine policies during the pandemic. There were 2.24 million foreign tourists in December alone, compared to 230,497 in the same month the year before.Before the pandemic, Thailand saw a record high of nearly 40 million foreign tourists in 2019. The top three source markets for tourists last year were Malaysia, India, and Singapore.Thailand is aiming to attract 25 million international visitors this year, with a focus on attracting at least five million visitors from China. To support this goal, the government has approved a budget of 3.95 billion baht (120.72 million US dollars) to boost domestic travel and international tourism in secondary cities.The reopening of China is expected to further boost Thailand’s vital tourism sector, which before the pandemic accounted for about 12% of the gross domestic product in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.
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Thai Car Production Up 2.75% Year-On-Year in December 202225 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has reported that car production in Thailand rose 2.75% in December from a year earlier to 158,606 units, following a 15% rise in the previous month.FTI’s automotive industry division spokesperson Surapong Paisitpattanapong said in a news conference that car production increased by 11.73% to 1.88 million vehicles in 2022.According to FTI, car exports rose 10.17% from a year earlier to 111,605 vehicles in December. However, domestic car sales dropped 9.02% from a year earlier to 82,799 units due to a lack of semiconductors in some car models and flooding in parts of the country. The FTI added that domestic car sales increased 11.89%, while exports increased 4.28% in 2022.Thailand is a regional vehicle production and export base for some of the world’s top car makers, including Toyota and Honda. The industry accounts for about 10% of the Thai economy and its manufacturing jobs.
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Government Follows Up on Policies in Suphanburi25 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister has visited the central province of Suphanburi to follow up on various government policies in the area. The visit by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha came following this week’s Cabinet meeting. He was accompanied by Secretary to the Prime Minister Phiraphant Saleeratwipak, and Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.Upon arrival, the premier inspected a case of 113 residents petitioning for the use of public land for occupational purposes.He said their petitions will be thoroughly looked into, while adding that -- if approved -- the land allocation will be determined through a drawing. Of the 113 petitioners, 54 are considered eligible while the remaining 59 were deemed unqualified.Gen Prayut later conversed with welcoming locals and inquired about their well-being. He also reiterated that the national land policy, which offers temporary ownership of land to people for occupational purposes, aims to tackle poverty and provides assistance to those in need.Additionally, the prime minister stressed that his administration emphasizes equality under the rule of law.
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We Travel Together Campaign Gets 2023 Extension25 Jan 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The government’s We Travel Together campaign has received another extension, allowing Thai nationals to subsidize their hotel stays and travel expenses when traveling domestically. The government expects this latest extension to generate some 12 billion baht in cash flow.Members of the Cabinet today in a weekly meeting approved the extension of the We Travel Together campaign, which provides subsidies for eligible hotel stays in an effort to promote domestic tourism.First introduced to help the tourism sector that had been severely affected by the pandemic, the campaign provides each participant a subsidy for eligible hotel stays, along with coupons and discounts for other spending activities.The 2023 extension of this campaign will provide a 40% subsidy with a 3,000 baht cap per night per room for eligible hotel stays for up to 5 nights per person, half the amount of nights available in the previous campaign run.Guests leveraging this offer will be offered 600 baht per person per night e-coupons, which they can use to pay for up to 40% of the payable amount at participating venues. A total of 560,000 e-coupons will be provided through this round of the campaign.Unlike in the previous phases, the cash rebate for airplane tickets will not be offered this time around.The government anticipates this campaign run will help generate 12.54 billion baht cash flow in the national economy.Alongside this campaign, members of the Cabinet today approved a 1.93 billion baht tourism and economy promotion campaign that aims to attract international visitors by presenting the country’s soft power through digital marketing platforms and other activities.It also aims to promote domestic travel through marketing and communications campaigns under the theme "Amazing Thailand, Amazing New Chapters," together with the upgrade of local products that promote tourism.This promotional campaign will run from February to September this year, covering major holidays like Songkran festival and long weekends from May through August.
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