The Thai economy has received a heavy and prolonged shock from the COVID-19 pandemic but is now past its lowest point thanks to efforts by all sectors. The World Bank now deems the Thai economy will return to normal growth in 2022, owing to rapid Covid vaccination and the return of tourists.
Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, the World Bank’s Senior Country Economist for Thailand, said the Thai economy is now recovering better and indices for private consumption, consumer confidence, and business confidence have all improved. He attributed said improvement to the progress in vaccination, a healthy expansion in exports, the reopening of the country to international tourists, and the continuous issuance of economic rehabilitation and stimulation measures by the government. The World Bank now expects the Thai economy to grow by 1% this year and economic activity to return to pre-pandemic levels toward the end of 2022. Growth is projected to accelerate to 3.9% for the whole of 2022, and 4.3% in 2023.
The number of foreign tourists is predicted to rise to almost 7 million in 2022, with a said rise expected to be much more rapid in the latter half of the year. The number is forecast to increase to about 20 million in 2023, which would be roughly half of the pre-pandemic number in 2019.
According to Mr. Kiatipong, governmental support for greater application of digital technology in the industrial sector, especially at SMEs, will increase competitiveness in the long term and support Thai economic recovery. He noted that digital trade will henceforth be an important component of SMEs’ activities, helping the businesses save on costs and access new markets. (NNT)