Speech of H.E. Kulkumut Singhara Na Ayudhaya,
Ambassador of Thailand to the Republic of the Philippines
on the occasion of the Symposium on ?Asian Best Projects and Practices in Real Estate and Tourism Development?
World Trade Center, Pasay City
30 July 2010


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Royal Thai Embassy and Team Thailand in the Philippines, it is my pleasure to extend my warmest felicitations to everyone taking part in this symposium on tourism and real estate development.

This symposium has come at a very opportune moment when the Royal Thai Government is broadening its efforts to facilitate tourism and promote real estate development to mitigate the effects of our country?s political situation last May.

As I sketch my thoughts about the plight of tourism and real estate development in Thailand, allow me to stress, without overemphasizing, how fortunate we are for the myriad blessings nature has bestowed on us as seen in our unique landscapes, water systems, diverse culture and people. In fact, this recognition of nature?s blessings serves as the pillar of our Tourism Authority?s focus on ?ecological minimization?, which shows our immense care and concern for the environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thailand is known as the ?Land of Smiles? not only because our visitors love our country?s magnificent beauty and historical places, but also because of our natural hospitality and good will.

In fact, foreigners love to return to Thailand because of their wonderful experience with our people. Aside from these, Thai cuisines also attract foreigners all over the world. In particular, they are fascinated with our street foods, which have also become popular to people from the middle and upper classes.

Furthermore, our government utilizes our natural and human resources to boost our tourism industry, in ways which are not detrimental to the environment. Particularly, our river systems, such as the Chao Phraya River, are used to facilitate tourist travel.

Also, our cultural performances attract many tourists. Each province in Thailand has its own unique and colourful cultures which are shown in the attires we wear, the cuisines we offer, and even the sports we play, particularly Muay Thai.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thailand, being a Buddhist country, is fortunate to have people who are calm and who try to understand foreign guests. In fact, infrastructures in Thailand have been established to facilitate tourism. Through such infrastructures, we are able to connect many tourist destinations within and outside our country.

Take for example our famous Suvarnabhumi Airport which is located in the middle of Thailand. The airport makes it easy and convenient for people to travel not only to different places in the ASEAN region but also to around the world as gateway.

It is also our humble way of telling our foreign guests that: IN THAILAND, WE SUPPORT AND VALUE OUR TOURISTS.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In terms of the real estate industry, the law and regulation of Thailand and the Philippines are quite similar. While foreigners are not allowed to own land, they are permitted to own properties like condominium units.

Moreover, our real estate sector strictly complies with the rules and regulations of our government. For instance, the hotels and resorts near our coast are directed to maintain a certain distance from the beach and that they (hotels and resorts) are obliged to keep their areas clean.

Furthermore, we have the Department of Construction under the Ministry of Interior, which grants permits to those engaged in the real estate industry. In Thailand, a permit is issued only when our government is convinced that a certain project is reliable.

A monumental success in Thailand?s real estate industry is the Industrial Park Zone, which was constructed through joint efforts between our government and the private sector. Indeed, the Zone represents the sound relationship between our government and stakeholders, which is one of the pillars of Thailand?s progress.

In addition, the Zone also shows how we effectively implement an integrated plan in the area of real estate development. Our government had facilitated the creation of good sewage systems, electric systems, international schools, hospitals, and the like. All these have been established in areas which are not only strategic and beneficial for the Thai people and local community but also for foreigners, particularly investors. So to speak, our success in the real estate industry can largely be attributed to our effective national plan and well-determined areas of priority.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The illustration I have just sketched explains why around 15 million people travel to Thailand every year and why many foreigners, specifically Europeans, love to retire in Thailand.

For your further information, there are around 200,000 Filipino tourists who visit Thailand every year and the figure is expected to increase by 10% each year.

Moreover, our recent economic data shows that Thailand?s tourism industry was able to generate an annual income of nearly 16 Billion Dollars, which constitutes about 7% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Lastly, it is my pleasure to inform everyone that Bangkok has recently been given the Best City Tourist Award by the Travel and Leisure Magazine.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tourism and real estate are hugely important sectors in our economy. This is basically the reason why our government and the people of Thailand deeply appreciate foreigners who come to our country. In turn, we reciprocate our appreciation through the good services we provide as evidenced by our infrastructures and sound national policies as well as our genuine support to foreigners.

With this, let me reiterate my warm felicitations to everyone in this symposium and I hope that I have given you a clear picture of the tourism and real estate development condition of Thailand.

Thank you very much for listening and best wishes.