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Asean set for tourism push

Posted by pakin On January - 21 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.

IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.

The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.

“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.

Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.

The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.

Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.

Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.

“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.

Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.

Plan for tourism professIonals

The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals inAsean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.

Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.

On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.

Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.

Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.

“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.

Shipping and transport firms enjoy streamlined services

A new start-up, Giztix.com, which has won three major start-up pitches and competitions this year, has an ambitious dream of being a global platform for supply-chain systems.

It won a Thailand ICT Award in the Start-up Category, the Digital Winners Award from DTAC Accelerate Batch 3, and Echelon Thailand 2015’s Start-up LaunchPad award. It also walked away with the title of Most Promising Start-up.

Sittisak Wongsomnuk, 25, Giztix.com’s chief executive officer and co-founder, said it started offering services in September by positioning itself as an e-marketplace for logistics services to pinpoint addresses for shippers and transport providers. It can help shorten a logistics service’s quotation period from two hours in the domestic market, 10 hours in Asean market, and two days for with Europe or North America to nearly real time.

It provides lists and details of shippers and transport providers so users can quickly and easily find logistics services.

The service is provided free of charge to shippers, and its revenue comes from commissions and transition fees charged to transport providers that get customers via Giztix.com.

Shippers can source the transport providers verified by Giztix.com and quickly get transport and freight clearance, while transport companies have a greater opportunity to get customers easily. They can increase revenue by not needing to invest in technology and sales procedures.

Giztix.com currently serves around 100 shippers and more than 100 transport companies, 20 of the latter in Thailand. The rest are in mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sir Lanka, Britain, Australia and the United States.

The competitive advantage of Giztix.com is to offer easy ways to handle logistics for both shippers and transport providers. The shipper can compare prices, while the transport company can sell its services anywhere.

Sittisak said Giztix’ platform made the logistics services enjoyed by large companies available to smaller firms at an affordable cost.

Next year, Giztix.com aims to have more than 10,000 active users per day, of which 80 per cent are shippers and the rest transport providers. It also expects to be available in 15 countries with total transaction value of US$10 million (Bt357 million).

He said Giztix.com aimed to cash in on the high potential logistics value in Asean, a market worth around $20 billion and which is expected to grow by 2-6 per cent per year.

From being an e-marketplace for logistics services, Giztix.com by mid-2016 plans to extend its service to cover the whole supply-chain system through partnerships with large e-commerce service providers.

“We aim to be the platform hub of the global supply chain system through integrating Giztix.com with international e-commerce players such as Alibaba and Priceza.com,” Sittisak said.

He said Giztix.com was seeking venture-capital fund-raising worth $300,000 for team expansion. It is also applying for support from the Board of Investment.

It plans to launch a mobile application early next year.

Out of 100 applications, 15 teams were selected to make their pitch in front of judges on the first day of “Echelon Thailand” in Bangkok. Five start-ups were shortlisted to make a presentation in front of a live audience and a panel of five judges. They were Ardent Capital CEO Adrian Vanzyl; Linear Venture founding partner Harry Wang; Andrew Kvalseth, head of the strategy and innovation division of Total Access Communication (DTAC); Gobi Partners investment director Victor Chua; and GREE Ventures associate Albert Shyy.

As part of the grand prize, Giztix received three years’ access to BizSpark, BizSpark Plus and $120,000 worth of Azure credits from LaunchPad prize sponsor Microsoft. These prizes will allow Giztix to access software and tools like Visual Studio and Office, alongside training courses and a vibrant technology community.

Additionally, the Giztix team received a pair of tickets to “Echelon Asia Summit 2016”, and an exhibition booth at the international summit to be held in Singapore next June.

Echelon is Asia’s premier technology and business conference that celebrates the start-up industry and its change-makers. It is organised to convene the region’s tech space, investors and influencers to discuss Asia’s emerging trends and ascend to a higher value proposition.

Asean to see surge in M&A

Posted by pakin On October - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

More Japanese and Chinese firms are expected to merge with or acquire companies in Southeast Asia in the coming years, as the region remains attractive with high potential for economic growth and a large and relatively young population, according to Deloitte.

The intended slowdown in China has not diminished Deloitte’s bullish view on the region. It is looking to spend “tens of millions of US dollars” a year to hire financial experts and talent in the region.

“Asean is Deloitte Global’s main target of business expansion in 2016,” Chaly Mah, chief executive officer of Deloitte Southeast Asia, told a press conference in Bangkok yesterday.

“Because of the potential for Southeast Asia’s 620 million people, which is considered to be a big consumer market, we are seeing major international corporations that are starting to make acquisitions.”

Many Japanese companies are buying into the consumer-type business in Southeast Asia so that they can gain access to the future potential of the region, he said.

Quoting the International Monetary Fund, he expects the region’s economy to expand from US$2.5 trillion to $4.3 trillion and eventually become the fourth-largest in the world by 2020.

Singapore economy falls in Q2

Posted by pakin On July - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Singapore’s economy contracted more than analysts predicted last quarter, underscoring the weakening outlook for Asian nations amid sluggish global growth.

Gross domestic product fell an annualised 4.6% in the three months through June from the previous quarter, when it expanded a revised 4.2%, the Singapore Trade Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The median in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.5% contraction.

Growth in global trade has slowed in the last few years after outpacing world expansion for decades, according to the International Monetary Fund. A commodities slump, China’s slowdown and uneven recoveries in the United States and Europe have damped the exports that power many Asian economies.

“Manufacturing has been the weakest link,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings in Singapore. “With the uncertainties in the global economy, I don’t think economic conditions are likely to improve in the near term.”

Singapore’s manufacturing shrank an annualised 14% in the second quarter from the previous three months, Tuesday’s data showed. Construction contracted 0.2%, while services fell 2.6 in the same period.

The economy’s contraction is the worst since the third quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on previously reported figures. Analysts at Barclays Plc and Merill Lynch lowered their growth forecasts for Singapore for this year and next, following Tuesday’s report.

The sluggish growth could trigger more monetary policy action by Singapore’s central bank, some analysts said. The authority unexpectedly eased in January.

“The weaker-than-expected GDP release raises the risk of a policy shift in October,” analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc said in a research note on Tuesday. “With core inflation below the target range, a weaker property market and bank lending, the GDP release could increase market expectations for easing.”

The outlook elsewhere is also weak, with the International Monetary Fund last week cutting its forecast for global expansion this year. China’s second-quarter economic growth may have slowed to 6.8% from 7% in the first three months, according to the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey ahead of data due Wednesday.

Singapore’s economy expanded 1.7% in the second quarter from a year earlier, after growing a revised 2.8% in the previous three months. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was 2.4%.

Tuesday’s data are advance estimates computed largely from figures in the first two months of the quarter and may be revised later, the ministry said.

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