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Bank of Thailand issues stark warning over ongoing ban on foreign tourists

Maya Taylor

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Bank of Thailand issues stark warning over ongoing ban on foreign tourists | The Thaiger
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The Bank of Thailand has issued a sombre warning that the ongoing ban on foreign tourists returning to Thailand may have an even worse impact next year. Don Nakornthab, from the BOT’s economic and policy department, says if international tourists are not allowed back into the country soon, Thailand’s tourism industry will face even bigger threats next year.

A report in the Bangkok Post says both the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council have already reduced their forecasts of foreign tourists this year to 6.7 million (the vast majority of that number arriving in Q1, 2020) and 12 million for 2021. To put that in context, in 2019, Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million international tourists, with the resulting revenue accounting for nearly 20% of the total Thai GDP.

The month of July was the fourth consecutive month in which Thailand received no foreign tourists. The borders remain largely sealed, while discussions about how to open safely continue. Having successfully suppressed Covid-19, the government appears very wary of opening back up too quickly, potentially inviting a resurgence of the virus. There has been a number of ‘plans’ and ‘models’ announced but there has been no confirmation that any of these are definitely being implemented.

But Don says it’s imperative officials take steps now to re-ignite international tourism and begin repairing the devastated economy.

“If foreign travellers still cannot visit the country, this will impact Thailand’s economic growth more severely next year. The government should strike a balance between tourism measures and outbreak containment.”

The BOT concedes that the possibility of a second wave cannot be ruled out, as shown by places like Hong Kong and Singapore. However, Don maintains that a rate of 20 to 30 new cases a day is probably manageable.

Meanwhile, a further relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions during the month of July has caused a slight improvement in the economy, due to increased public spending. Exports shrank by nearly 12% compared to the same time last year, but this was less than the nearly 25% contraction seen in June. But, while employment figures have improved slightly, due to a reduction in the number of employees affected by the temporary closure of their place of work, the overall picture remains bleak.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    William Binn

    September 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Thailand faces a grim choice, it can have tourism with widespread covid or it can stay closed up, but it can not have tourism without covid spreading through the country, there is no middle ground. All the data available from other countries shows this to be the case.

    Its second delema is that Thailand has traditional multi generational households (generally 3 generations) and if covid gets into the broader community it will pose a massive threat as it will be impossible to isolate the elderly/vulnerable, from the younger generations that will predomanently remain asymtomatic and spread the virus unknowningly.

    The third delema is in the Govts refusal to look at the real facts about its GDP and economy. The “tourism” industry is not about how many fatang pass through an airport, its about how much money is spent in the wider community and where its spent. They may choose to look strictly at the formal sector and survey the 5 star hotels to make their assumption of a 15-19% GDP number, but in reality there is a massive informal tourist economy that effects tens of millions of Thai people and business’s. This is not the tshirt seller, this is flow on economy from the million or more bar ladies. They all purchase food from the street venders, get their clothes laundered, rent rooms, pay bills, and send the bulk of their income home to support an extended family, not to memtion all the “boyfriends” remitences from overseas. In the great fight to save face the Govt has refused to acknowledge their existance and include them in any type of covid fimancial aid, and that doesnt just effect the lady but her whole extended family. The ripple effect from this is being felt far and wide. One room is now occupied by 4 ladies and 3 rooms are vacant. The payments on motorbike loans are not paid. Mama noodles are the economic choice and the bbq cart is struggling, as is the chicken farmer, and the chicken feed producers. The realestate financial problems are coming as these same ladies are no longer able to service their bank debts for land and house building.

    The catch 22 is unfathomable, the reality is hard to face and it is a guarenteed loser at the next election regardless of the choice made, but delaying the choice is not going to work for long either.

    The only thing that is certain is that the Phucket quaratine bubble will not work in its proposed form due to the charactorists of this virus. You either need to isolate each and every guest from the other guests for 14 days or you will have an outbreak. The minute you have an outbreak the staff will try to flee due to the superstition and fear that has been built up (needlessly) about the virus. Those fleeing staff will spread it as the go and the whole 6 month quarantine/lockdowns/restrictions will have been for naught, and then they will start again destroying what is left of the economy.

    I do not envy the choices to come, but the true science needs to be used or thousands will die needlessly, my family may even be among those numbers.

    Perhaps the “ministers” should get some plain clothes and go hang out at the bars in Pattaya (and other places) buy the ladies some drinks and ask questions, they will be only to happy to fill you in on what is really going on below the shiny surface that is the highclass hotel bars of Bangkok. Heck, im happy to introduce you and get the conversation started if you like.

    WB

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      The Thaiger & The Nation

      September 1, 2020 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for your well-considered comment. We’ve published it separately. TT

    • Avatar

      Petecool

      September 1, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      Make sense mate.In actual covit wont kill them economy will.Let see how tough they are.Money or covit.

    • Avatar

      Stephen Westrip

      September 3, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      It is not tourism that will bring widespread COVID, at least not entirely. It has been seen in many countries that as soon as you allow people to travel around the country, open up peoples homes to visitors, etc. that is what raises the infection rate. Letting in tourists that have tested negative will NOT increase the infection rate – how could it? The only way the infection rate can increase within a country is through lack of widespread testing and therefore the lack of knowledge as to where the local hotspots may be. I feel that it is in this specific area that Thailand is lacking.

  2. Avatar

    Bobby m

    September 1, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    At least somebody at the bank of Thailand understands.

    “ But Don says it’s imperative officials take steps now to re-ignite international tourism and begin repairing the devastated economy.

    “If foreign travellers still cannot visit the country, this will impact Thailand’s economic growth more severely next year. The government should strike a balance between tourism measures and outbreak containment.”

    Now all he needs to do is (if you will forgive the pun) is get the penny to drop with the government.

  3. Avatar

    Anh Lam

    September 1, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    The banks should have no say in opening or keeoing borfers closed. As the Bank of Thailand official states, ITS ALL ABIUT MONEY! Money money money… Does not mater about people health to him or anyome attached to the TOT ministry.. One needs to look at the daily infection rates brought in by local people as well as folks from countries with high infection rates. Who is paying for their treatments and testing? Look whats happening in Vietnam, Aruba, Hong Kong, indonesia and the rest of the high rate countries. Its all about money. Im all for the grass root thai people, affraid of the 2nd Wave, keep the door shut! People will survive! For all the foreign tourists already here, folliw the Socilal Distancing Rules and wear your mask on your face and not on your chin. Stop Jabbet Jawing when i approach you to make you aware of such ignorance.. Your country may have high infection rates, dont come here and spread the virus.

    • Avatar

      Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

      September 1, 2020 at 9:45 pm

      ‘afraid of the 2nd Wave’!!!!!! ”keep the door shut! People will survive!” ”don’t come here and spread the virus.” !!!!!!!
      ……………….x…………………

      Well I have some questions for you…..

      *How long you will keep the door shut? Is that the only solution to contain Covid-19?

      *How long you can keep 0 virus? How much logical is this to close border and destroy whole economy to keep 0 virus, where it can come into your country from other sources.

      *Are you waiting for effective vaccine? You really think Vaccine is the solution? Because still there is no effective vaccine. When you think, Whole Thai population can be vaccinated? How long you should wait for this? Can Thailand Economy sustain that Long?

      *20% GDP(Actual number surly is far more) dependent on Tourism, Can really Thailand afford to shut it’s border like other countries do?

      *Are you certain about the severity of this virus in recent time? Are you sure it remains as deadly as it used to be in earlier Months? No one knows actual covid cases, as most of the country don’t have enough testing capacity. So it is obvious that actual death rate is far far less.

      Every country on this earth have to learn to live with Corona Virus.

      • Avatar

        Steve

        September 2, 2020 at 6:11 pm

        Yes, how long to you strangle the economy to death because of irrational fears of a disease with an infection fatality ratio of less than 1%? Especially when scientific evidence is pointing to the real possibility that 40-60% of the population is immune.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    September 1, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    The government do not care – they are collecting their money, and have effectively banned elections.
    It is up to the citizens of Thailand to force them out of office. and install a new government that will remedy the present economic disaster.

  5. Avatar

    Michael

    September 3, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    It‘s a fact, that Thailand let in everyone the first three months of this year, when the pandemic was in full flow already. And yet the numbers of infections and deaths were very low.

    What is the explanations for that? And why are so-called expert still telling, that Thailand can‘t handle tourism. It handled tourism three months during the pandemic without any regulations.

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Economy

Cabinet approves co-payment of 3,000 baht each for 10 million consumers

Maya Taylor

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Cabinet approves co-payment of 3,000 baht each for 10 million consumers | The Thaiger
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In its latest round of direct economic stimulus, the Thai government is to offer a co-payment of 3,000 baht each to 10 million Thai citizens for a period of 3 months. The scheme is expected to kick off on October 23 and run up the end of the year, with the co-payment subsidising half the cost of purchases, but excluding alcohol, tobacco, or the government’s bi-monthly lottery. There will be a maximum daily co-payment of 150 baht, and 3,000 baht per person in total.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says Thai citizens over the age of 18 can sign up for the scheme from October 16. The subsidy will be transferred to consumers’ electronic wallets. Anucha says the scheme will cost around 30 billion baht and will provide a much-needed boost to small businesses. Businesses interested in participating can register from tomorrow.

The Bangkok Post reports that Cabinet have also approved the addition of an extra 1,500 baht to the monthly living allowance for nearly 14 million citizens holding state welfare cards. Recipients will get the 1,500 baht in 3 installments of 500 baht between October and December.

The government also plans to compensate businesses that hire new graduates, through the introduction of a co-payment plan. Companies hiring students who work part-time and are registered in the social security system, will receive help from the government. This is a change from the previous stipulation that only graduates not registered in the social security scheme could participate in the program.

Under the employment subsidy program, the government will pay 50% of graduates’ salaries for one year, beginning next month. Around 260,000 new graduates are expected to be included in the programme, which will be financed from the government’s 400 billion baht economic recovery fund.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand

The Thaiger

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Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand | The Thaiger

Vietnamese finance officials are downgrading expectations for a recovery of the south east Asian nation’s economy in 2021. The normally fast-growing gross domestic product in 2020 has stalled due to a huge drop in local and global demand, and the absence of international tourism. The booming economy, growing at an average of 6% per year since 2012, will struggle to reach a growth rate of 2% this year.

Fuelled by manufactured exports, the Vietnam economy has dropped back to a trickle. The Asian Development Bank estimates that this year’s GDP growth could be as low as 1.8%. The Vietnamese factories, that usually crank out shoes, garments, furniture and cheap electronics, are seeing dropping demand as the world’s consumer confidence drops dramatically.

Stay-at-home rules in Europe and America are keeping are keeping people away from retail stores. And despite the acceleration of online retail, many of the consumers are emerging from the Covid Spring and Summer with vastly reduced spending power.

The headaches of 2020 are also challenging Vietnam to maintain its reputation as south east Asia’s manufacturing hotspot. Rising costs and xenophobic foreign policy have put China ‘on the nose’ with some governments, complicating factory work in China, whilst other south east Asian countries lack infrastructure and are incurring higher wage costs.

One Vietnamese factory operated by Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, which produces footwear for top international brands, has laid off 150 workers earlier this year. There are hundreds more examples of the impact of falling demand in the bustling Vietnamese manufacturing economy.

Vietnam’s border closure is also preventing investors from making trips, setting up meetings and pushing projects forward. Those projects in turn create jobs, fostering Vietnam’s growing middle class. Tourism has also been badly affected by the restrictions on travel. “International tourism is dead,” says Jack Nguyen, a partner at Mazars in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Inbound tourism usually makes up 6% of the economy.”

“Things will only pick up only when the borders are open and there’s no quarantine requirements. Who knows when that’s going to be.”

A mid-year COVID-19 outbreak in the coastal resort city Danang followed by the start of the school year has reduced domestic travel, analysts say. Some of the country’s hotels are up for sale as a result.

“Recovery could take 4 years.”

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is now warning that global post-pandemic recovery could take as long as 4 years, perhaps more.

Not that foreign investors in the country are pulling out. Indeed, many are tainge a long-term view that Vietnam’s underlying strengths will outlive Covid-19. Vietnam reports just 1,069 coronavirus cases overall.

SOURCE: VOA News

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Thailand

Government to stir economy with 100 billion baht stimulus starting in October

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Government to stir economy with 100 billion baht stimulus starting in October | The Thaiger

The Thai Government is expected to stimulate the economy with 100 billion baht boost starting in October until the end of the year. The injection will reportedly come from both the people’s and the government’s spending under three stimulus measures according to the Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

The first measure will reportedly give 14 million welfare cardholders an extra 500 baht discount over the next 3 months on their shopping with the budget for this measure totalling 21 billion baht. The second measure, dubbed “Kon La Khreung” or Let’s Go Halves, will give 10 million people up to 100 baht discounts daily on beverages and household essentials with the subsidy being capped at 3,000 baht per person. The scheme will not, however, include such things as alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.

The third measure is aimed at wealthier Thais as tax incentives and will be offered in an effort to encourage them to spend more as consumers. The Cabinet has also approved a measure to pay 260,000 new graduates half of their salary to help the private sector. That budget is reportedly totaling 19.5 billion baht.

Supattanapong also predicts the economy will improve next year but warns it could take 2 years before the nation’s economic growth returns to the pre-Covid level. He says the country’s current budget is sufficient to boost the economy unless there is a second wave of Covid.

“But in the event that there is a second wave, the government is prepared to borrow more as its national debt is quite low compared to other countries. However the government is being cautious so it can remain financially healthy in the post-Covid era.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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