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British Ambassador says that embassy land deal not complete “contrary to rumors”

British Ambassador Brian Davidson said Tuesday that no deal has been reached about the sale of the embassy on Wireless Road.

Mr Davidson was speaking at an event to meet Thai and western news media in the heart of the plot that has been described as one of the biggest land deals in the history of Thailand.

Speaking at “the residence” he said: “Despite what you may have heard, no contract has yet been signed.

“I promise that when I have news to share I will share it with you.”

Despite the sale of the huge downtown area, he reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to Thailand in the long term saying that he wanted to expand and develop the relationship between the two countries. In an upbeat speech the ambassador, who only took up his post last year, spoke of the “new era” following the UK’s referendum and the impending triggering of Article 50 to begin the withdrawal from the EU.

In a speech he spoke of improving and developing trade ties and other initiatives and funding projects saying that he was looking forward as well as accepting the history that exists between the two nations.

Talking exclusively to Thaivisa after the speech he spoke of the consular activities. He said that there are known to be a million visitors from the UK each year to Thailand.

He said that there were 50,000 British people here of which 10,000 were retirees.

Much of the consular help revolves around assistance given to families after British people die while in Thailand – this he put at about one person each day on average.

Mr Davidson who was a UK ambassador in China before coming to Thailand said that there were certainly differences between Thailand and China especially in the way they do business.

He said that he had made many visits to the kingdom before coming to work here and that his posting would last four years.

Asked about criticisms from some sections of the British public living in Thailand about consular assistance he suggested that contact should be made to the relevant officers for clarification.

Earlier several officials had commented on several aspects of the embassy’s service with comments made by a member of the visa issuing staff saying that 100,000 applications were made at the embassy for visits to the UK each year.

These came not just fromThailand but Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Some 70% of the applications came from Thai nationals.

Some 93% of visa applications, received at the embassy and handled through their VFS partners, were approved, he said.

Main reasons for visits were tourism and study. He said that consular staff were “working closely with VFS” to make the visa application process easier.

It had earlier been announced and was touted at the reception that visa assistance would now be available off-site especially for large groups intending to visit the UK. This assistance is available at about 50,000 for five people and 10,000 baht per person thereafter.

Ambassador Davidson was non-committal when asked when the day might come when individuals might be able to easily apply online for visas.

Many countries, like Australia, provide what is known as an ETA permission to travel in a simple one stop online procedure.

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