The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

CP chief pushes tourism reboot

BANGKOK: Billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont is urging the government to relax lockdown measures and welcome foreign travellers as soon as possible, and turn the country into a “safe haven” for wealthy visitors.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 14 May 2020, 09:46AM

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to people at a community centre for distributing food and necessities to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at Wat Rakhang Khositaram in Bangkok. The centre was initiated by His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch. Photo: Chanat Katanyu / Bangkok Post

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks to people at a community centre for distributing food and necessities to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at Wat Rakhang Khositaram in Bangkok. The centre was initiated by His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch. Photo: Chanat Katanyu / Bangkok Post

Mr Dhanin, who is the senior chairman of the country’s largest food and agriculture conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, said the move would help revive the tourism sector.

“Thailand’s economic losses from the lockdown are estimated to be at B16 billion per day or almost B500bn per month," he told the Bangkok Post. “A longer lockdown will cost us more and more.”

Thailand has been under lockdown since March 9 after the government acted to stem an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases. The government said the coronavirus infection rate is now about 1%.

The economic impact of the lockdown is apparent as millions of workers applied for unemployment benefits. The tourism sector is also hit hard after the nation stopped taking in foreign visitors.

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) did not report any new infections on Wednesday (May 113), the first time in 65 days since the lockdown began. The country has recorded 3,017 cases.

“We can’t wait until a vaccine is developed and produced in sufficient quantity to roll out to the entire population,” Mr Dhanin said. “The economy won’t survive that long.”

He said the tourism sector accounted for 16-17% of GDP and should be revived due to improvements in the virus situation.

Mr Dhanin proposed the government attract high-spending tourists from across the world by highlighting Thailand’s success in containing the spread of COVID-19.

“The number of infection and death cases in Thailand is very low compared with other countries, even though our lockdown began later,” he said. “There were also a large number of Chinese tourists in the country.”

“This reflects the fact that our doctors and hospitals are the best and we need to tell the world about it,” he said.

Mr Dhanin topped Forbes magazine’s “Thailand’s 50 Richest” this year. He is among 20 moguls in the kingdom whom Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked to develop relief projects to help people affected by the outbreak.

He said the government should take advantage of Thailand’s low COVID-19 figures and turn the country into a “safe haven” for wealthy individuals from around the world.

“We have five-star hotels and resorts; we also have five-star hospitals and the best doctors,” Mr Dhanin said. “If we can make rich people feel confident that staying in Thailand is safer than their own countries then they will come.”

He said now is the time for Thailand to shift its tourism image from “quantity to quality”.

“If we begin today, we can become a leader in this market,” Mr Dhanin said. “Thailand is already well-known for its hospitality, warmth, and friendliness.”

“Impressed tourists will become repeaters,” he added. “One million wealthy tourists will equal five million normal tourists.”

The tycoon said he is aware some people may disagree with the idea because they don’t want foreign tourists entering the country amid the outbreak, but Thailand should take the risk.

“There is always a risk. You walk out of your home to go to work today, you might get hit by a car. But you still have to go out because you have to work and earn a living,” Mr Dhanin said.

“The [tourism] concept is the same,” he added. “The challenge is how we can limit and minimise the risk.”

Mr Dhanin said he believes the tourism industry will bounce back quickly in the aftermath of COVID-19 during the “new normal”.

“Many people may never go back into the office because they’ve learnt they can work [remotely] now,” he said. “They may work from the beach, mountain or even overseas. It doesn’t matter as long as they can do their job.”

Mr Dhanin said CP has realised this new trend and will implement work-from-home policies among its employees in the aftermath of the virus.

“I think office buildings will be smaller in future,” he said. “There’s no need to build large buildings any more.”

“The large buildings we have now may be turned into condominiums or hotels instead,” Mr Dhanin added.

When asked what the government should do to help small and medium enterprises to stay afloat during the pandemic, the tycoon said it should issue 30-year bonds to raise money and offer soft loans to them.

“I think B3 trillion would be enough to prevent mass unemployment,” Mr Dhanin said.

“Many businesses are struggling to survive because they don’t have the liquidity they need to operate,” he added.

“The government needs to step in to ensure they can at least keep employing staff.” Mr Dhanin said this can be done because the country’s public debt is at 42% of GDP.

He said he has written to Gen Prayut in response to the prime minister’s request for help. CP will spend over B700mn to fund projects to help vulnerable people.

Mr Dhanin said CP still has more projects in the pipeline, including for water and agriculture development.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Jor12 | 16 May 2020 - 16:29:41

What has an article in an obscure publication have to do with the comments of Mr Dhanin and Thailand;s situation and move forward? 

Rorri_2 | 16 May 2020 - 09:46:08

Damn LALALA, you're forcing me to agree with the 2 stooges.

LALALA | 16 May 2020 - 09:08:58

Jor 12... what I refer too is an officially published document issued by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.... it is available online...if you could read and understand complex scientific reports....

Jor12 | 15 May 2020 - 18:33:34

ahhh... but did you know Gates actually got the answers after being beamed up to the ship from Alpha Centauri when they visited earth in Dec 2019.

LALALA | 15 May 2020 - 17:58:48

I agree with you on Bill Gates, do you actually know that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a research working on a method which per injection delivers a pattern in the skin that is invisible to the naked eye but can be scanned with a smartphone that has the infrared filter removed...published in Dec 2019 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology......

ematt | 15 May 2020 - 16:43:01

Oh yeah LALA I forgot: We never landed on the moon, 5G causes CoVid, and Bill Gates is planning a vaccine that will secretly infect the entire world with a mind control drug. 

Rorri_2 | 15 May 2020 - 13:56:53

Jor12, say what you want, believe what you want... your business will suffer for a long time yet.. get use to it.

Jor12 | 15 May 2020 - 10:17:35

R2... "...most countries know Thailand's covid numbers..." You should practice what you preach. Some compelling proof - even just one - rather than join the conspiracy theory nutters would be better.

Rorri_2 | 15 May 2020 - 07:53:44

Harold, this is ABOUT Thailand, how about keeping it about Thailand, and keep it relevant to this article... it would help.

LALALA | 14 May 2020 - 21:57:10

ematt, you are absolutely correct...only disagree with your statement about POTUS, he is an idiot, same as all American presidents have been before

ematt | 14 May 2020 - 17:53:37

Yes Harald! And also 9/11 was actually staged by the US government (same as Sandy Hook), and Donald Trump is the greatest president ever, and the masonic NWO is secretly plotting to take over the world, and and and....

harald | 14 May 2020 - 12:08:12

Rorri 2 you mean a lot countries are faking the number of flu victims and never speak about flu because if you use only covid19 or corona you can make people knowing nothing about flu virus afraid with panic and you can rule like in a dictatorship

Nasa12 | 14 May 2020 - 11:50:54

Well well to turn the country into a “safe haven” for wealthy visitors. This will be interesting 

Pascale | 14 May 2020 - 11:44:08

"...most countries know Thailand's covid numbers are fake/..." Like a parrot someone goes on repeating .repeating,repeating. The UN is correct by saying that the Covid crisis can affect peoples mental health.  

Rorri_2 | 14 May 2020 - 09:58:20

Thailand needs to think, oh dear, they can't, but for international tourists to return, their respective countries must first allow them to leave....and secondly return... without going in 14 days quarantine. Also, most countries know Thailand's covid numbers are fake/false/misleading, irrespective, of what our apologetic 3 stooges say.

LALALA | 14 May 2020 - 09:57:47

'we also have five-star hospitals and the best doctors,... what is this guy talking about...Healthcare in Thailand - assuming he speaks about private clinics - is simply a rip off and doctors are mostly clueless

Fascinated | 14 May 2020 - 09:54:07

Typical Hi-So Attitude. The rich look after each other and stuff the poor. B700m is a drop in the ocean for this man.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Offshore health checks for returning Thai crew

Thai's being allowed to return to their own country ? The serial poster wont be amused to hear t...(Read More)

Phuket hotels allowed to reopen

DEK...I am talking about investment opportunities, applicable laws, rules and regulations...and on a...(Read More)

Phuket hotels allowed to reopen

Thor..."This island does not live off Thai tourism as everyone knows" Oh really? Statistic...(Read More)

Phuket hotels allowed to reopen

I have been coming here since 78 and have lived here for past 3 years - if I felt I was treated badl...(Read More)

Phuket’s 24 piers get green light as all tourism-related businesses allowed to reopen

sandbar@people do not gather on the dive deck of a boat and drink alcohol which is what was happenin...(Read More)

Phuket’s 24 piers get green light as all tourism-related businesses allowed to reopen

R2...if Pascale is not remarking about Thailand, in what way has he digressed in pointing out incorr...(Read More)

Trump threatens military mobilization against violent US protests

"We have a great country" ,Trump declared... And the "Greatest"President of all...(Read More)

Phuket hotels allowed to reopen

" As a foreigner you never been well treated here..." You are surprised given the attitud...(Read More)

Phuket hotels allowed to reopen

"The 70% of foreign Thai share holders..." Kurt,why bother to comment about Thai Airways ...(Read More)

Phuket’s 24 piers get green light as all tourism-related businesses allowed to reopen

As a diver I know how crowded dive boats can be, and the close proximity you are to each other. So ...(Read More)