While the Thai meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector is expected to recover this year, the government has been urged to improve some of the infrastructure and ease regulations, executives of Tokyo Big Sight and the Japan Exhibition Association said last week.
Implementation of Reforms in Thailand
Recent crashes in Thailand’s GDP and export markets, plus the drop in tourism fuelled by recession and last year’s domestic political turmoil, have dispelled illusions that the country is insulated from the effects of the global downturn. Numerous indicators of economic health are hitting the red, foreign investment is evaporating, unemployment is surging, and credit lines are freezing up. Thailand’s government still says there is a possibility of positive growth this year, despite facing a rougher ride than in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as conditions infest the real economy on a broader scale.
Volumes of untreated domestic sewage, industrial wastewater and solid hazardous wastes have risen dramatically in recent years. The result is that roughly one third of Thailand’s surface water bodies are considered to be of poor quality. Clearly Thailand needs to focus on more effective enforcement of environmental laws; stronger institutional capacity, both national and local; and increased investments in pollution prevention and control, with private sector participation.
Thailand continues to reduce import tariff rates for various products.
Imports from new ASEAN member countries also have lower import duties. As part of ASEAN Integration System of Preferences (AISP), tariffs of products such as vinegar, chili, certain vegetables, wood products, and electronic switchboards imported from Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR are either reduced or abolished from September 2008.
Infrastructure plays a crucial role in economic development and enrichment of living standards. Various stages of economic development require different levels of infrastructure upgrades or enhancements to ensure infrastructure in fact facilitates economic activities. Thailand has been facing a series of infrastructure challenges, both new and well-established. To name a few: there is a need for infrastructure services to catch up with economic development and international competition, manage the growth in urban areas, respond to global energy prices, and ensure basic services for the poor.