New Coronavirus affects tourism, GDP

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BANGKOK — The outbreak of the novel coronavirus will impact tourism and the gross domestic product of Thailand, according to the chairman of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations.



FETCO chairman Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn made the remark as the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index plunged by 45.77 points or nearly 3% midday, showing a worse decline than regional indexes.

Although China introduced many measures to cope, uncertainties remained and no one knew how long the situation would continue, he said.

“There were considerable sells this morning because the Thai economy depends highly on exports and tourism and Chinese tourists form the biggest group of visitors to Thailand,” Mr Paiboon said.

According to him, Thailand welcomed 40 million visitors last year and their arrivals generated 11% of the GDP, compared with 7% of the GDP in 2014.

When tourism income dropped by 10%, the GDP would fall by more than 1%. This year’s GDP growth could be 2% instead of 3%, Mr Paiboon said.

However, he said that the novel coronavirus would finally be controlled and its impacts on SET would be temporary. Impacts on SET lasted about one quarter during the times of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the FETCO chair said.

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