Thailand’s economy sees growth boosted by revival of tourism

BANGKOK — Thailand’s economy enjoyed a healthy expansion in the third quarter, officials said Monday, with the return of international tourists helping to offset still-high inflation.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy has been hit by the pandemic, but the kingdom’s reopening earlier this year saw the services sector register an 87% year-on-year increase, official data showed.

Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) recorded a 4.5% year-on-year increase in gross domestic product in July-September, projecting overall growth this year at 3.2% while forecasting 3, 0/4.0% for 2023.

“The service sector continues to grow due to the reopening of tourism earlier in the year,” said Danucha Pichayanan, secretary general of NESDC, adding that private consumption grew by 9%.

Thailand expects to generate about 570 billion baht ($15.8 billion) in tourism revenue this year, officials said, after welcoming some 10.2 million visitors since reopening, still down from the few 40 million before the pandemic.

But Danucha said the signs of recovery were there, with the kingdom pinning its hopes on China’s potential relaxation of its strict COVID-19 travel rules.

“We believe China is likely to ease travel restrictions in the second half of next year,” he said.

Chinese visitors made up a large part of the kingdom’s tourism economy and accounted for around 28% of all arrivals, according to Bloomberg.

Officials said they forecast around 23 million tourists in 2023, predicting 1.2 trillion baht in revenue generated.

However, the country, like many others, still faces stubbornly high inflation, hovering just below six percent, but far from the 14-year highs reached recently.

“Inflation, rising interest rates and conflicts that have affected energy prices remain factors impacting several countries,” Danucha noted. – France Media Agency

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