he Ministry Of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Thailand awarded the DGM Consortium which includes Gemalto, a member of Thales Group, the contract to supply 15 million e-passports to its citizens over the next seven years.
In 2018, the Thai Government launched ‘Thailand 4.0’ with a vision to develop Thailand into an innovative, dynamic and value-driven economy.
With this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Thailand will provide 15 million technically-advanced, high-security e-passports to Thai citizens thanks to the DGM Consortium, which includes Gemalto, a Thales Company, Data Products Toppan Forms Ltd., and MultiCert.
The Thai E-passport project is the largest passport project contracted for the Group in 2019.
Thai citizens can look forward to a newly-designed 64-page biometric travel document which includes an e-Cover with a thin, flexible datapage made of polycarbonate as well as a window containing a second image of the citizen and a true colour UV photo.
High standards of security
These security features ensure that the document complies with the highest standards of security recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Thai citizens will benefit from the highest level of performance of the secure embedded software for fast border crossing. Furthermore the DGM Consortium will also implement a highly secure end-to-end electronic passport system that will also strictly comply to the Personal Data Protection Act of Thailand.
This contract is one of the largest passport programmes for the Thales Group worldwide, and supports Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in creating a technically-advanced, high-security travel document for its citizens.
By bringing superior standards of technology and enhancing local technical expertise, Thales aligns closely with the Government’s ‘Thailand 4.0’ initiative which aims to drive Thailand towards an innovation and value-based economy.
The current passport production capacity will increase significantly, as two active high security production sites – a Remote and a Main facility – will be established as part of the project to ensure business continuity and security for passport issuance.
By providing continuous training and transfer-of-technology to develop local expertise in passport issuance, Thales is leveraging its global technological expertise to upskill the Thai workforce as it moves towards a digital future.
Beyond a newly-designed passport, Thai citizens will benefit from greater efficiency in registering for their passports as the project will upgrade citizen-facing enrolment operations in 22 existing managed sites throughout Thailand, as well as include an expansion plan to establish 15 new sites throughout the country, offering more service points for Thai citizens to obtain their travel documents.
As a committed partner to Thailand for more than 30 years in industry sectors ranging from defence to air traffic management and to ground transportation, Thales aligns with this vision by now bringing its technology expertise in the digital identity and biometrics sector, making us a trusted partner to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs as they deliver a highly-secured and modern passport for their citizens.
Will Covid-19 unleash a new generation of digital nomads?
– Despite travel restrictions, countries are seeking to attract digital nomads
– Dubai and Mexico have emerged as key destinations for foreign remote workers
– As travel resumes, many anticipate a new wave of roaming digital nomads
With Covid-19 facilitating the widespread adoption of remote working practices, some emerging markets are seeking to attract digital nomads through a series of incentives and special visas.
Despite border closures and travel restrictions resulting from the virus, various countries are stepping up efforts to incentivise the movement of so-called digital nomads – people who work remotely and relocate relatively freely.
For example, in October the Dubai government launched its virtual working programme, an initiative that gives foreign professionals the opportunity to move to the emirate and continue to work remotely in their current jobs.
The one-year programme, launched after Dubai reopened its borders to international tourists in July last year, is designed is attract professionals, entrepreneurs and those working in start-ups.
Given its strong ICT infrastructure and healthy start-up scene, Dubai has been seen as an increasingly attractive option for digital nomads in recent years, with officials marketing the emirate as a place where people can live and work by the beach.
As a further incentive, in January officials began offering free vaccines to those on the programme.
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Covid-19 and medical tourism: is a recovery on the cards?
– Dubai was a world leader among emerging market destinations
– Covid-19 travel bans and lockdowns seriously dented growth
– Increased emphasis on safety has enabled a gradual re-opening
Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, medical tourism was a significant growth industry in many emerging economies. While the pandemic represented a major setback for the segment, there are signs that it may be recovering in several markets.
The last decade saw a boom in medical tourism. By 2018 the global market was generating $58.6bn annually and in 2019 it was forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% – reaching more than $142.2bn by 2026.
The segment’s growth was largely spurred by increased awareness – particularly among citizens of higher-income countries – of the quality and relatively affordable health care options on offer in many emerging economies. The appeal was further enhanced by the possibility of combining medical treatment with a holiday in an attractive location.
Asia has been a popular region for medical tourism for some time. In Thailand, for example, guided by the Ministry of Public Health’s 2016-25 strategic plan entitled ‘Thailand: A Hub of Wellness and Medical Services’, stakeholders have been working to cement the country’s position as a regional leader in medical tourism.
Elsewhere in Asia, in 2017 the Indian government began offering a medical visa aimed at bringing in more foreign patients.
Governments in other regions similarly moved to capitalise on this growing segment. In 2015, for example, Turkish Airlines announced a 50% discount on flights for people coming to Turkey for medical treatment.
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