Thailand: Economy in recovery, bolstered by tourists: Arkhom

Thailand’s economy is still on the recovery path and should grow 3.4% this year and 3.8% next year, supported by a rebound in its vital tourism sector, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy can weather global uncertainties, while average inflation should come in at 6% this year, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said at a World Bank event.

Last year’s economic growth of 1.5% was among the slowest in the region and the country’s tourism sector only started to show signs of new growth this year.

From January to Dec 12, Thailand recorded 10.3 million foreign tourist arrivals, breaking through a government full-year target of 10 million, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told a separate business seminar.

As the country is now seeing 60,000 to 70,000 foreign tourists per day, it should end the year with 11.5 million foreign visitors, he said.

For 2023, the tourism authority earlier said the kingdom could see about 25 million foreign tourists if Chinese tourists returned.

Thailand saw only 428,000 foreign tourists last year, compared with nearly 40 million in pre-pandemic 2019.