Although the global economy in 2016 was challenged by worldwide political turmoil, as well as anxiety surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU (Brexit), the Thai economy remained resilient and still continued to grow. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) estimated the country’s economy would grow 3.2 per cent, up from 2.8 per cent in the previous year, driven mostly by spending and investments in the public sector.
As for tourism outturn, according to the latest information from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, tourist arrivals in 2016 totaled 32.58 million. This was an 8.9 per cent rise from 2015, generating overall tourism revenue of 2.52 trillion Baht, up approximately 11 per cent from the previous year and contributing to Thailand’s GDP by 17.7 per cent, the revenue of which contributed to overall local economy.
Dusit Thani Public Company Limited, meanwhile, faced three immensely significant changes during 2016. The first and most unfortunate change to occur last year was the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which tremendously saddened all Thai nationals including everyone in our Dusit family. In honour of His Majesty and his remarkable work, the Company pledged to continue his dedication to the sustainable development of Thailand, by fostering growth to benefit each and every stakeholder in our business.
The second change saw Mr. Chanin Donavanik decide to take up the positions of Vice Chairman and Chairman of Executive Committee to oversee corporate strategic policies. This led to the Board of Directors appointing Mrs. Suphajee Suthumpun as new Group Chief Executive Officer, responsible for managing and growing the organization in line with Mr. Chanin’s initial plans. As such, significant emphasis was placed over the past year on building solid foundations to prepare the Company for profitable and sustainable growth, as well as seamlessly performing business operations.
The last change, which I am pleased to announce here, was the extension of our lease agreement with the Crown Property Asa Sarasin Chairman Asa Sarasin Chairman Bureau for the 19 rai of land on which Dusit Thani Bangkok stands, on the Silom-Rama 4 intersection. In accordance with the new agreement, which also grants us additional land between the Dusit Thani Office Building and Abdulrahim Building alongside Rama IV Road, which currently has nothing but derelict buildings, the lease will be extended by 30 years with the right to extend for another 30 years. In total we will have 23-2-2.72 rai of land (approximately 37,611 sq. m), and we aim to develop this site to its maximum potential to create a new destination in Bangkok. The new development will not only add economic value to the area, but it will also complement its surroundings and embrace the rich heritage of Dusit Thani Bangkok by incorporating key elements of Thai culture, green space opposite Lumpini Park, and new ring roads providing access to Rama 4, Silom and Sathorn Roads, and thus easing traffic congestion in the area.
We are well aware that Dusit Thani is a Thai brand and it is our duty to conduct business that benefits both the Company and community. We are confident that our accomplished list of business operations and investments throughout 2016 will play an important part in elevating our brand to become a prominent name in the local and global markets.
On behalf of the Board of Directors at Dusit Thani Public Company Limited, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our shareholders, guests, business partners, executives, employees, and all other stakeholders, who have placed their confidence in us and continued to support the company and its subsidiaries as we grow and move our business forward.