Thai consumer confidence at 26-month high in January on tourism

THAI consumer confidence rose for an eighth straight month in January, bolstered by a rebound in tourism and government stimulus measures, but the high cost of living remained a worry, a survey showed on Thursday (Feb 9).

The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce hit a 26-month high of 51.7 in January from 49.7 in the previous month.

Consumers felt the economy had improved following a clear recovery in the vital tourism sector, particularly with the return of Chinese tourists, the university said in a statement.

“All indices were higher, suggesting consumers were confident that the economy was recovering and they would start spending more in the first quarter,” the university said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was cited as saying more than 30 million foreign tourist arrivals were expected this year as the sector gathers steam. The government is forecasting at least 7-8 million Chinese visitors this year as China reopens.

In 2022, Thailand beat its tourism target with 11.15 million foreign visitors, a surge from about 428,000 the previous year when broad pandemic-related travel curbs were in place.

Pre-pandemic 2019 saw a record of nearly 40 million foreign tourists, who spent 1.91 trillion baht. REUTERS