Thai economy to recover only in H2 2022 after tourism reopening - survey

The Southeast Asian country this month welcomed its first foreign tourists without quarantine


Thailand's economy is expected to recover only in the second half of next year despite the opening up of the tourism sector as people are concerned about new waves of coronavirus infections, a university survey showed on Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian country this month welcomed its first foreign tourists without quarantine requirements after more than a year of restrictions.

While the reopening  has raised hopes for the economic recovery, most people surveyed did not have very high expectations due to concerns about fresh outbreaks that will lead to containment measures again, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said.

"People are still cautious about spending because they are not confident whether COVID will be contained after the country's reopening," university president Thanavath Phonvichai told a briefing.

The university expects 300,000 foreign tourists in the last two months of the year, compared with 40 million foreign visitors in the whole of 2019.

Consumption will remain weak, as spending during the country's floating basket festival later this week is expected at only 9.15 billion baht ($279.6 million), a 10-year low, he said.

Thailand on Tuesday reported 5,947 new infections, sharply down from a daily record of more than 23,000 cases in August, when tougher curbs were imposed.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy  contracted less than expected in the third quarter as domestic activity started to recover from the coronavirus-driven slump.

The economy is expected to grow 1.0% to 1.5% this year and 3.5% to 5.0% next year, Thanavath said.

Whether the economy will grow well depends on rollout of vaccines and more stimulus measures from the government, he said.

The country has so far vaccinated just over half of 72 million people living in the country. ($1 = 32.73 baht)

(Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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