ASEAN Market Watch: Thai Tourism, Telecoms in Myanmar, and Laos’ Road Link with China
Thailand: 16 Million Foreign Tourists Expected in First Half of 2016
Economic analysts stated that the tourism industry in Thailand is projected to record 16.6 million foreign tourist between January and June 2016. This marks a rise of nearly 13 percent increase in the number of incoming foreigners when compared to the same period in 2015. The estimated earnings will be around US $ 23 billion, which marks a 17 percent increase.
Meanwhile, domestic travel is expected to generate around 75 million trips and earn around US $ 11 billion. The third quarter of 2016, is forecast to create earnings of around US $ 18 billion from international and domestic tourism. The strong projections are aided by the expected arrival of around 10 million Chinese tourists. The figures highlight the positive trajectory of the tourism industry in Thailand. Foreign investors, particularly those in the hospitality and real estate development sector should note the potential opportunities that Thailand’s market currently offers.
Myanmar: Norway Telecom Company Expands Services to Rakhine state
Telenor, the Norway-based telecommunications company launched their mobile services in Rakhine state in May 2016. The expansion into Rakhine implies that Telenor now has towers in all states, regions and territories in Myanmar. Currently, Telenor has around 5,300 towers and plans to own around 7,000 towers by the end of 2016. The expansion aims to create optimal network quality nationwide.
Telenor, initially faced roadblocks before entering Rakhine. The state has often been plagued by political and communal instability. The ability of Telenor to enter Rakhine highlights the improvement in the business climate in the state and in Myanmar overall. In addition, the expansion plans of Telenor will enable businesses to access mobile and data coverage without impediments. This in turn, is expected to boost ease of doing business in Myanmar, and also make the country a more attractive destination for foreign investors.
Laos: Road Link with China to Aid ASEAN’s Economic Development
Laos is building a road that connects the landlocked country to China. The road will be called the Hongsa-Chiang Man Road and will connect the Luang Prabang province in Laos to China’s Yunnan province. The 70-mile (114 kilometer) stretch will also link Thailand and Vietnam with southern China. Construction of the road began in January 2016 and the road is expected to be operational by 2018.
The road is being funded by the Thai government and is expected to halve the travel time between Laos and Thailand. The competition of the road is expected to boost trade, particularly between Laos and Thailand. It will also enable Chinese producers access to ASEAN markets at relatively cheap costs, thereby boosting the economic development for ASEAN.
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