|Population||69 million (2017)|
|GDP at PPP (current international dollars)||1.2 trillion (2017)|
|GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars)||17,871 (2017)|
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With well-developed agro-industries and a highly competitive agriculture export program, Thailand has been a powerful promoter of subregional agricultural trade. Thailand has developed world renowned agriculture products, including Jasmine rice, and has established the capacity to use agriculture to decrease rural poverty and drive economic growth. The country is working to increase private sector participation in agriculture, and is cooperating with GMS partners in defending against cross-border disease, and building climate resilience.
Thailand is working with its GMS partners to mitigate global warming and lower carbon emissions throughout the subregion. This includes sharing information and working together on developing renewable energy, clean fuels, energy efficiency and conservation. Thailand has a policy of working with its GMS partners to develop local energy sources, such as biomass, solar, and wind energy that reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
With abundant water, forest, fish, and wildlife resources, Thailand is improving water security, decreasing forest cover loss, and managing solid and hazardous waste within its borders and throughout the subregion. Thailand has decentralized management of the environment to local communities, and has partnered with the private sector to enhance and protect the environment. Thailand is home to the GMS Environmental Operations Center, which coordinates environmental initiatives for the subregion.
Thailand works with its GMS partners to maintain a wide range of human resource development activities. These include skills development and the mutual recognition of vocation skills. The country is also combating human trafficking, and has worked to decrease the cross-border transmission of disease.
As an active partner in subregional telecommunications programs, Thailand is developing cross-border connections under the GMS Information Superhighway Network. Thailand is also working with its GMS partners to develop information and communication technology for rural applications.
Thailand is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and is seen as a gateway for promoting GMS as a single destination for global travelers. The country’s top destinations include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and seaside resorts in Pattaya and Phuket. The government is working to encourage sustainable tourism that highlights cultural identity, and promotes the conservation of nature and the environment.
As an active member of the GMS Business Forum, Thailand is promoting private sector investment in the subregion, and is encouraging Thai companies to trade with neighboring countries. Thailand is working with its GMS partners to improve trade by easing the flow of goods and services across borders. It is coordinating with subregional partners on customs procedures; inspection and quarantine measures, and trade logistics.
Thailand’s well-developed transport system is an important part of the GMS economic corridors, which focus investment and development on vital highway systems. Thailand has been a driver of economic growth on the North-South Economic Corridor (Kunming-Bangkok Road); the East-West Economic Corridor; and the Southern Economic Corridor. Thailand has worked with its GMS partners to upgrade portions of these important economic corridors and encourage cross border investments aligned with subregional highways.
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, has teamed with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support technology startup TakeMeTour to develop the LocalFarm online platform and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Thailand’s tourism sector.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Joint Committee endorsed ad-referendum the 10-year Basin Development Strategy. The Strategy aims to guide Mekong River Basin stakeholders in addressing environmental, social, and economic issues arising from climate change, water resource development projects, and population increase. Its endorsement paves the way for a final consideration and approval by the MRC’s council of ministers.
The Government of Myanmar released a Strategic Roadmap for Tourism Recovery that aims to establish ‘new normal’ conditions to help tourism make a comeback.
Mr. Ohn Maung, Union Minister of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, provided guidelines for implementation of the plan. It includes three phases:
‘Travel bubbles’ are being considered by Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar and Thailand, as a means to safely resume travel activities. Members of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group recommended creating travel bubbles to kickstart regional tourism in the absence of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in their meeting in May.
A press release from the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced plans to improve facilities at border gates with Thailand and Viet Nam.
Cambodia’s border crossing points with Thailand and Vietnam are crowded with traffic of cross-border transport and tourists. The country wants to develop the necessary infrastructure to manage this traffic flow to ease cross-border transport and boost trade activities.
The Economic and Financial Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth, approved the proposal.
As the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) increases its electricity exports, the country is prioritizing safety improvement of its dams. A committee comprising local and foreign experts will conduct dam safety inspections, according to news by the Laotian Times. The Government is also implementing new safety measures and standards.
Government officials and university researchers from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Thailand, and Viet Nam will work together to examine plastic waste leakage into the Mekong River system. The aim is to understand the current state of plastic pollutants in the region and offer policy recommendations to address the challenges.
A $37.8 million loan deal between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and TTC Energy Development Investment Joint Stock Company (TTC Energy) will provide TTC Energy with long-term financing to develop and operate a 50-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power plant. The solar power plant and its associated facilities will be built in Tay Ninh Province in Viet Nam, and serve the electricity demand of residents and businesses of Ho Chi Minh City and its surrounding areas. This will help reduce 29,760 tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
The Third Meeting of the GMS Working Group on Health Cooperation (WGHC-3) was held on 12–13 December 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. WGHC-3 was co-organized by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) of Thailand and the ADB.