BANGKOK, Nov 17 – A Thai academic said the planned anti-government rally of the Pitak Siam group next Saturday will have an impact on the country’s economy if it is prolonged or turns violent.
Thai Chamber of Commerce University’s Economic and Business Forecasting Center director Thanawat Polvichai said the public must keep a close watch on the Pitak Siam group protest on Nov 24 as the political situation is now in a delicate position.
He said this could result in the slowing of consumer spending and affect the tourism industry as the protest–which its leader earlier announced the possibility of the prolonged rally until the government is toppled–is occurring near the New Year festive season.
If the protest remains peaceful, Mr Thanawat said it will not affect 2012 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is forecasted to grow at 5.5 percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2013.
Mr Thanawat, however, noted that the 2013 GDP will expand less than 4 percent and cost about Bt10 billion in losses to the tourism industry if the protests turn violent and lead to a change of the government.
Meanwhile, deputy chairman Pornsilp Patcharintanakul of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said the private sector is worried and does not want to see any political demonstrations.
He explained that the peaceful political gatherings under the rule of law are acceptable, but if they are prolonged and/or violent, this will impact confidence of foreign investors, affecting the trade, investment and tourism industries.
Particularly on tourism, Mr Pornsilp said Thailand expects Bt2.2 trillion of revenue from the industry within the next two years, a figure almost equal to the entire budget of the country each year.
He added the private sector does not want see any political chaos which could lead to violence, as had happened a few years ago.