Thai Mart to open in Bahrain by year-end

Work on the project began last year and the mall was supposed to open this March

  

MANAMA: Thai Mart, the Middle East’s first Thailand focused mall, will open in the fourth quarter this year, the Southeast Asian country’s top diplomat in Bahrain has revealed.

Thailand’s Ambassador Thanis Na Songkhla told the GDN in an exclusive interview that at least 30 of the 130 shops in the marketplace are set to open before the end of 2020.

The 6,700sqm shopping centre, within the Diyar Al Muharraq city, is designed to serve as a distribution point for Thai goods to neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia.

Work on the project began last year and the mall was supposed to open this March when it was delayed on account of global lockdowns and border closures stemming from Covid-19.

Mr Songkhla said he now expects a number of shops in Thai Mart to open for business later this year as many shopkeepers have arrived in Bahrain over the last few weeks following the gradual lifting of travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“The project is being developed in phases and phase one of construction is already complete. Also, 95 per cent of infrastructure work is finished and we are waiting for Thai business owners to do the fitouts and open their shops,” he said.

A joint venture between Thailand’s Vega Group and Diyar Al Muharraq, Thai Mart will be showcase of traditional architecture, while offering high-quality products and services from the country under one roof, the promoters have said.

Besides featuring a food court with Thai restaurants, the mall will also have jewellery zones and a kids area.

Talking about the impact of the pandemic, the ambassador said while trade between Bahrain and Thailand had taken a hit in the last six months, there were signs of improvement in recent weeks.

“Total bilateral trade volume from January to August this year at $259 million is down 23pc when compared with the same period last year. Over the same period, the value of Bahraini exports to Thailand increased 3pc to $88m and the value of Thai imports to Bahrain decreased 30pc to $171m.”

With Gulf Air resuming cargo operations to Thailand, said Mr Songkhla, the situation was improving but as Thai airports still remain closed to commercial flights, a return to normalcy is not likely until next year.

Agencies reports said Thailand is making plans to reopen the country for foreign tourists and investors early next year, with a gradual resumption of international flights and relaxation in other quarantine rules.

According to the ambassador, the embassy’s extensive line-up of events for this year including the second edition of the Thai Expo and high powered delegation visits will now be held next year.

He also said the embassy hoped to replicate the success of the first hybrid-virtual business matching event organised on the Vixma platform, which brought together Bahraini and Thai business owners dealing in organic food, hotel supplies, beauty, spa and wellness products.

The event was supported by the ASEAN Bahrain Council (ABC) led by Shaikh Daij bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Feryal Nass, the vice chairwoman of the council and its Thai committee head, said such virtual business matching activities not only allow manufacturers and suppliers to continue trade, but also help in reinvigorating the deep bilateral economic relations.

Siam Pavilion Services, the organiser of the meetings, said nearly $2 million worth of deals are expected to result from the 232 matches involving 75 small and medium businesses from the two countries.

Mr Songkhla said he is excited about two upcoming events - a cosmetics focussed virtual exhibition in the middle of this month being held in partnership with the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry –and a trade event for vehicle spare parts later this month.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

© Copyright 2020 www.gdnonline.com

(Image: gdnimages/20201005\20201005225751NewProject-2020-10-05T225654.449.jpg)

MANAMA: Thai Mart, the Middle East’s first Thailand focused mall, will open in the fourth quarter this year, the Southeast Asian country’s top diplomat in Bahrain has revealed.

Thailand’s Ambassador Thanis Na Songkhla told the GDN in an exclusive interview that at least 30 of the 130 shops in the marketplace are set to open before the end of 2020.

The 6,700sqm shopping centre, within the Diyar Al Muharraq city, is designed to serve as a distribution point for Thai goods to neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia.

Work on the project began last year and the mall was supposed to open this March when it was delayed on account of global lockdowns and border closures stemming from Covid-19.

Mr Songkhla said he now expects a number of shops in Thai Mart to open for business later this year as many shopkeepers have arrived in Bahrain over the last few weeks following the gradual lifting of travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“The project is being developed in phases and phase one of construction is already complete. Also, 95 per cent of infrastructure work is finished and we are waiting for Thai business owners to do the fitouts and open their shops,” he said.

A joint venture between Thailand’s Vega Group and Diyar Al Muharraq, Thai Mart will be showcase of traditional architecture, while offering high-quality products and services from the country under one roof, the promoters have said.

Besides featuring a food court with Thai restaurants, the mall will also have jewellery zones and a kids area.

Talking about the impact of the pandemic, the ambassador said while trade between Bahrain and Thailand had taken a hit in the last six months, there were signs of improvement in recent weeks.

“Total bilateral trade volume from January to August this year at $259 million is down 23pc when compared with the same period last year. Over the same period, the value of Bahraini exports to Thailand increased 3pc to $88m and the value of Thai imports to Bahrain decreased 30pc to $171m.”

With Gulf Air resuming cargo operations to Thailand, said Mr Songkhla, the situation was improving but as Thai airports still remain closed to commercial flights, a return to normalcy is not likely until next year.

Agencies reports said Thailand is making plans to reopen the country for foreign tourists and investors early next year, with a gradual resumption of international flights and relaxation in other quarantine rules.

According to the ambassador, the embassy’s extensive line-up of events for this year including the second edition of the Thai Expo and high powered delegation visits will now be held next year.

He also said the embassy hoped to replicate the success of the first hybrid-virtual business matching event organised on the Vixma platform, which brought together Bahraini and Thai business owners dealing in organic food, hotel supplies, beauty, spa and wellness products.

The event was supported by the ASEAN Bahrain Council (ABC) led by Shaikh Daij bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Feryal Nass, the vice chairwoman of the council and its Thai committee head, said such virtual business matching activities not only allow manufacturers and suppliers to continue trade, but also help in reinvigorating the deep bilateral economic relations.

Siam Pavilion Services, the organiser of the meetings, said nearly $2 million worth of deals are expected to result from the 232 matches involving 75 small and medium businesses from the two countries.

Mr Songkhla said he is excited about two upcoming events - a cosmetics focussed virtual exhibition in the middle of this month being held in partnership with the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry –and a trade event for vehicle spare parts later this month.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

© Copyright 2020 www.gdnonline.com

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