Former finance minister speaks at Skal Bangkok Business Lunch

Members of Skål International Bangkok filled the room with future Prime Minister of Thailand Korn Chatikavanich speaking candidly on a wide range of tourism-related topics.

The event took place on June 14, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit hotel.

The Business Luncheon Talk with former Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij was well supported by industry influencers.

Skål Bangkok’s networking lunch turned out to be a real eye-opener as former Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanich discussed inflation, the economy, integrated resorts, LGBTQ+ tourism and the Surat Bridge project Thani / Koh Samui.

No topic was overlooked at this dynamic conference, as Mr. Chatikavanich offered unique insights and insightful advice to Thailand’s tourism leaders.

Korn at the start of his presentation identified that global economies were not doing well. Thailand was no exception, he said: “We’re not doing very well…”

Post-Covid tourism has been hit hard, “it’s the toughest industry of all,” he said. Tourism, however, is rapidly returning.

The current challenges for the economy are weak growth coupled with higher inflation. He believes that inflation will lead to an increase in interest rates, the market, he says, expects an initial increase between 50 basis points up to 1% and later another increase of 1% .

Korn then discussed inflationary pressures such as rising household debt – already the highest on record at 90% of GDP, which will have a longer negative effect on the recovery of the economy. However, he believes that the public debt, currently at 70% of GDP, is sustainable and leaves fiscal room for manoeuvre, as there are still resources available to borrow additional funds that the government will inject into the economy.
He believes, however, that the oil fund which is currently costing Thailand 20 billion baht per month, with a weaker baht touching 35 baht to the US dollar, is unsustainable and will have the long-term effect of raising oil prices. fuel in Thailand long after world prices. start to decline.

Korn said there will be elections as early as March or April next year 2023 – no one expects the current government to survive for another term and probably parliament will be dissolved after the APEC meeting in November 2022. Thailand holds the presidency as host.

Mr. Chatikavanich then discussed real estate capital funds as a means of injecting capital into companies with real estate assets. He spoke of his intention NOT to immediately reduce property taxes to 100% (they were reduced to 10% due to the pandemic). Instead, he prefers to envision a five-year program that will only gradually increase as businesses recover.

Speaking on immigration issues, he announced that he would favor abolishing the 90-day declaration for long-term residents in Thailand.

He also announced that to look at new investments and opportunities for the travel and tourism industry, we cannot expect a quick return of the 40 million tourists who were registered before Covid in 2019, but we must work harder to make sure we have a thriving tourism industry.

As a political party, we recognize that Thais love to gamble; they gamble in illegal establishments or travel to neighboring countries where casinos have been legalized and successfully introduced as integrated resorts. Korn thinks we should have our own and that will make Thailand very competitive for this type of business. There is already a sub-committee discussing this in parliament.

Mindsets have changed and we need to look for regional opportunities to develop legal casinos and capture some of the gambling tourism market, he said.

He also discussed Thailand’s social tolerance and compassion for the LGBTQ+ community and the fact that globally it is estimated that travel and tourism spending by this sector is $4. .5 trillion US dollars. He suggested that Thailand should target five percent of this market which would attract 7.9 trillion baht a year in additional tourism revenue. Korn also said Thailand is currently discussing legalizing same-sex marriage. Thailand is socially supportive of same-sex marriages, he said, it’s just that Thai law hasn’t caught up.

He believes supporting this will send a positive image of Thailand to the LGBTQ+ community. The same goes for long-term residents who actually have to report to the police every 3 months. It sends the wrong messages and can easily be rectified without the need for 3 month reports.

The idea of ​​building a bridge connecting Koh Samui to the mainland at Surat Thani was raised during his recent visit to Koh Samui. Korn thinks it’s a great idea with positive financial benefits. Saying that would also break the transport monopoly. A thorough environmental impact study will be required, which can be done.

Korn believes the bridge will help smaller hotels have more access to customers, it will benefit the 2 mainland airports (Surat Thani and Nakon Si Thammarat) and increase the standard of living, he said.
Skål International Bangkok organizes a networking lunch every two months with different topics for the benefit of the tourism industry and the public. Members and non-members are welcome. They also organize a networking cocktail every two months, which is why Skål International Bangkok regularly organizes an event once a month. Events are always held at major hotels in Bangkok, allowing leaders and executives from various companies to see the wonderful services of Bangkok hospitality.

Skål International today has approximately 13,000 members in 318 Clubs in 96 nations headquartered at the General Secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain. For more information, visit
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Source: SKAL Bangkok