Russians, Chinese lead foreign arrivals to Thailand


PHUKET: Continuing resurgence in Chinese visitor arrivals in January helped Thailand start 2019 with a total of 3.7 million arrivals during the first month of the year, an increase of 4.8% year-one year, generating tourism expenditure of over B195.8 billion (+2.4% y-o-y), the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MoTS) has announced.

Mainland China remained the leading tourist source market with over 1.06mn arrivals registered in January, representing 9.3% growth against January 2018 and 19.2% growth against the previous month.

The Chinese arrivals generated tourism revenue of more than B55.8bn during the month, an increase of  4.7% year-on-year and an impressive 25.9% month-by-month.

The figures are a positive sign for the Chinese segment of the market which had seen several months of dropping arrivals after the Phoenix boat tragedy last July that killed 47 Chinese tourists.

The accident hit the tourism industry hard, with thousands of hotel cancellations and six Chinese carriers halting their flights between China and Phuket. The Chinese market began to recover in December and, as MoTS reported earlier this week, continued in January.

Meanwhile, Russia kept its status as the most important market among non-Asian countries with 229,518 arrivals in January (+1.2% y-o-y) and B17.3bn in generated revenue.

In contrast, most of other key European countries demonstrated declines in arrivals, including Germany (-3.5%), France (-2.5%), Finland and Sweden (-14.6%, 10.7% respectively).

However, arrivals from the UK increased by 3.4% and from Norway by 3%.

Overall arrivals from Europe totaled 886,324 (-1.7% y-o-y), tourism revenue falling 3.4%, to B63.2bn.

In its report for January 2019, the MoTS for the first time published statistics for separate Eastern European countries and some former Soviet republics. Three of them managed to break the 10,000-arrivals barrier, namely Poland (22,230 arrivals, +13/2% y-o-y), Kazakhstan (13,777 arrivals, +5.6%) and Ukraine (15,530 arrival, +20.4%).

Tourists from over the Pacific Ocean are still interested in Thai beaches and islands as well with over 116,908 arrivals registered from the US (+6.52%) and 33,628 (+3.85%) from Canada.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand keep balancing between stagnation and decline with 70,799 (-1.5%) and 8,921 (-5.7%) arrivals registered in January respectively.

While many of the traditional markets are in decline, India keeps showing some impressive growth, bolstering expectations that India can become the top of tourist source market for Thailand in the coming years. According to MoTS, 163,794 Indian nationals visited Thailand in January (+24.9% y-o-y), spending some B7.3bn (+26.5%). In December, India demonstrated similar results with 167,694 arrivals (+20.2%) and B7.7bn of revenue (+26.2%).

For the whole of 2019, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is forecasting 41.1mn foreign tourists (+7.5%), generating an estimated B2.21 trillion in tourism revenue (+10%). The forecast is based on a an expected 11.69mn tourists from China (+11%), 11.31m tourists from Asean countries (+10%), and 6.90mn visitors from Europe (+2%).

Published at The Phuket News on March 1, 2019

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Innovative real estate to take spotlight PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards


PHUKET: Continuing resurgence in Chinese visitor arrivals in January helped Thailand start 2019 with a total of 3.7 million arrivals during the first month of the year, an increase of 4.8% year-one year, generating tourism expenditure of over B195.8 billion (+2.4% y-o-y), the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MoTS) has announced.

Presented by Hitachi Elevator, the glitzy awards night will be presented on Friday, August 9, with various accolades for Developers, Development, and Design, as well as a few special awards for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainable Development, Design and Construction, Building Communities, and Public Facility initiatives.

Among the expected popular categories this year will be for Best Mixed Use Development, mirroring the growing trend of connected, integrated or multi-component properties particularly in Bangkok’s cosmopolitan areas.

According to consultancy firm JLL Thailand Managing Director Suphin Mechuchep – who resumes her role as chairperson of the independent judging panel of the Thailand Property Awards – such type of projects provides an intelligent solution to the challenges in the sector, including escalating development costs and land prices. One of the top honourees at the 2018 edition was a pioneer in mixed-use and integrated properties, billionaire Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, Group CEO of Frasers Property Ltd and TCC Assets (Thailand), who was named Thailand Real Estate Personality of the Year.

The 2019 Awards will also include competitive residential categories for Bangkok, Samui, Hua Hin, Khao Yai, the Eastern Seaboard, Phang Nga and Krabi, Chiang Mai, Phuket, North East and Southern Thailand. As well as their corresponding architectural, interior or landscape design awards, there are also open categories for the commercial sector’s hotel, retail and office segments.

Niche segments are also duly represented with categories for Best Senior Living Development, Best Smart Home Development, Best Green Development, Best Co Working Space, and Best Hotel Residence, a new addition to the long-running awards programme.

Nominations are now open to the industry and the public. Visit for the full list of categories and criteria.

Key dates for the 2019 edition are:

  • January 21 – Nominations and Entries Open
  • June 7 – Nominations Close
  • June 14 – Entries Close
  • June 24 to July 12 – Site Inspections
  • July 17-18 – Final Judging
  • August 9 – Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony
  • November 29 – Grand Final in Bangkok, Thailand

One of the biggest and most anticipated industry events of the year, the 2019 Thailand Property Awards gala night will be attended by more than 600 guests of senior real estate leaders and VIPs. The exclusive gala ceremony will be preceded by an invitation-only luncheon for CEOs of shortlisted nominees, which will be revealed in late July.

The annual event is organised by PropertyGuru Group and will be produced by the new awards business director Jules Kay, who is one of the original members of the Asia Property Awards team when it was established more than a decade ago.

“I am thrilled to re-join a team of like-minded professionals whose mission it is to recognise, achieve, promote and celebrate quality. I look forward to working with the team and taking the Awards to newer heights,” he said.

The 2019 PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards is supported by platinum sponsor Hitachi Elevator; gold sponsors Kudos and JLL; official airline partner THAI Airways; official portal partner DDproperty, Thailand’s leading property site; official magazine PropertyGuru Property Report; media partners Engineering Today, GM Live, Terra BKK, The Bangkok Insight, The Phuket News, The Standard; and official supervisor BDO, led by Thailand co-managing partner Paul Ashburn.

Published at The Phuket News on Febraury 27, 2019

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Thailand’s sponsorship market grew 19% – 2018


ASN (Asia Sponsorship News) has just released its Sponsorship Market Overview for Thailand 2018. Local agencies have had their say on the performance of the Southeast Asian sponsorship marketplace.

2018 was a robust year for Thailand’s Sponsorship market, growing 19% year-on-year to US$223.4 million (2017’s total investment was US$188.2 million) and making grounds on reaching its previous (outlier) market peak of US$247.8 million in 2015. Since 2015, the market had been creeping backwards to a recent low of US$187.2 million.

General market health -in GDP terms – for Thailand was generally positive. In November last year, the country forecast a slightly reduced GDP forecast in the mid-4% range for itself for the year.

Back to the Sponsorship market and the leading spending brands are as follows; the Top 10 includes the usual major players, but also some newcomers since ASN last analysed the market in 2016…

Toyota 11,749,000
Chang 10,347,050
PTT Petroleum 7,372,000
Singha 6,935,525
PTT Group 5,573,000
Tourism Authority of Thailand 5,532,000
Thai Beverage Plc 5,173,050
Adidas 5,075,000
Pepsi 5,065,000
Carabao 4,389,000

These 10 brands contributed almost 30% of the total investment in this Southeast Asian market.

In terms of the movers and shakers within the Top 10, versus 2016…

  • Toyota was 4th spending US$6.8 million
  • Chang was 1st with US$14.4 million
  • AIA was 2nd, Its dramatic fall caused by the cessation of its Thai Umbrella Football Club partnership, with the FAT, in 2017
  • Carabao and Adidas are newcomers for 2018

Then there are the broader market dynamics that moved the needle – across the various ways to slice ASN’s market data:

  • Platforms: Motorsports and Multi-sports outperformed (+98% and +103% respectively); while platform leaders Football (US$90 million in 2018) and Athletics (US$32 million) gained a healthy 23% and 15% respectively
  • Categories: Two of the Top 10 categories – Petrochemicals and Conglomerates – dipped into their budgets significantly in 2018 (+119% and +590% (!) respectively)
  • Genres*: Unsurprisingly, Content was the biggest mover with a 114% uplift. Events, the perennial Genre leader, gained 33% as well

Commenting on the market movements is eponymous Founder of Paul Poole (South East Asia) Company,  a marketing consultancy specialising in commercial sponsorship in Thailand says, “The 19% year-on-year increase in Sponsorship spending in 2018 is testament to a strong industry.”

“To see big brands and organisations such as AIA, King Power, Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), Honda and Siam Cement Group falling off the list is somewhat of a surprise given their visibility in the marketplace and their sponsorship history.”

“However, it is refreshing to see new additions to the list such as Adidas. It speaks of a dynamic and ever-changing market.”

“Sponsorships have the potential to reach beyond short-term sales to build a brand’s identity. Brand strength contributes 60 to 80% to overall sales, making this benefit critical for sustained, long-term sales growth.”

Poole is convinced consistency is key to building brand awareness and companies like Toyota and Adidas are good examples of companies pushing through content on all platforms, especially social media.

Since brand ambassadors are now typically anyone sharing content – especially online via video content – brands are getting leverage from the increasing use of social media platforms across the world. And Thailand is one of the most gluttonous consumers of online content!

So the Thai market is in good health: let’s see if 2019 can sustain the growth.

Published on The Thaiger on February 21, 2019

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Huawei continues investing in Thailand


Chinese tech giant Huawei Group has set aside an investment budget of US$81 million (2.5 billion baht) for Southeast Asia towards ICT enablement from 2019-21, focusing on OpenLabs, enabling cloud developers and cultivating ICT talent, James Wu, said.

James Wu, the group’s president for Southeast Asia, was speaking in Barcelona, Spain, during the Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC 2019) on Sunday.

He added that up to US$23 million (719 million baht) from the three-year investment budget of $81 million will go to opening its OpenLab in Bangkok and New Delhi. Another $50 million will be spent on developing the Huawei Cloud Developer Programme in the region, while $8 million will be invested in ICT talent development.
“Southeast Asia has always been an important market for Huawei. We have been continuously investing in this market, and bringing in the world’s leading and innovative technologies. We have established our regional HQ in Thailand. We invested $15 million to build the OpenLab in Thailand in 2017,” Wu said.

“Last year, our global cloud service centre was built in the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor)”.

“At the end of last year, we worked together with the Thai government to build a 5G test lab to improve the 5G ecosystem. We have invested $5 million in 5G testing. All these show that we have been continuously investing in this market, and we believe it will be one of the most important markets in innovation,” Wu added.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Huawei Southeast Asia.

“We’re trying our best to bring leading, secure and reliable products to this region. I think with the efforts of Huawei and the support of telcos and partners, we can help these countries to achieve their digital vision,” Wu said.

Currently, Huawei’s Southeast Asia region covers 1.7 billion people, including the markets of Thailand, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In the future, Huawei’s market share will be further consolidated,” Wu said.

In the Thailand market, Huawei’s local procurement was worth $180 million last year.

Wu said the company continues to be confident about expanding investments in Thailand although the country may see a new government after the elections in March this year.

“We don’t want to comment on politics. However, we believe that no matter how the policies change, for Thailand, as a digital hub of the region, the digitalisation and intelligent transformation will remain. As the leader of the industry, we will surely increase investments in Thailand, and hope Thai people realise their dreams.

Published at The Thaiger on Febraury 26, 2019 by The Nation

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