Many people who intend to observe a vegetarian diet during the vegetarian festival from October 6 to 14 made the switch to vegetarian meals on Tuesday, one day ahead of the festival. However, this year’s festivities are expected to be subdued even as the current wave of COVID-19 infections lessens in severity.
Despite positive signs over the development of the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination uptake, floods in many provinces and the continuous increase of fuel prices are the factors that will likely put a drag on spending and cause inconvenience for consumers during the vegan festival.
Economic think tank Kasikorn Research Center expects 3.6 billion baht to be spent by Bangkokians throughout the entire festival, a contraction of 8.2% from last year. Aside from ambient factors, the research center attributed the decline to the lower number of people opting to go on a vegetarian diet as well as the reduction in the length of the festival this year.
Meanwhile, many office workers continue to work from home, meaning they did not have convenient access to vegetarian food they previously had from food shops near their workplaces.
The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) President Thanavath Phonvichai, who is also the chief advisor to the Centre of Economic and Business Forecasting at UTCC, made public the results from a survey of people’s planned spending for this year’s festival where respondents provided their anticipated spending amounts on October 4 – 13.
Based on 1,208 samples, the survey found that the Vegetarian Festival 2021 will be subdued and spending during the period will amount to 40.147 billion baht. This figure is a 14.5% contraction from 46.967 billion baht in anticipated spending last year. This year’s festival is therefore on track to produce the first spending contraction in 14 years, owing to negative influence from COVID-19 and ongoing floods. (NNT)