Thai PM expects tourism to recover to half of pre-pandemic levels by next year

PHOTO: Flickr/Tore Bustad

The Thai PM says he expects 20 million tourists to visit the kingdom next year, around half the number of pre-pandemic years. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says this prediction still relies on the Covid-19 situation not deteriorating. According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM has acknowledged that tourism numbers have increased significantly since the easing of some restrictions.

‘Significant’ is still well below 10% of the tourism numbers arriving during 2019.

The PM says that although there has been a slight slowdown in economic growth, a rise in exports as a result of a weaker baht, added to the increase in tourist numbers, is reason to be hopeful. The PM also referred to a plan to impose a 300 baht tourism fee, but says that ‘tourist tax’ plan is yet to be implemented and will require more discussion about collection and distribution of the new revenue stream.

According to the PM, economic growth is looking more promising than it did in the last quarter of 2021. However, Russia’s war in Ukraine, coupled with the lingering pandemic, could still hamper recovery. As a result, the government is lowering its forecast for 2022 gross domestic product from 4% to 3.5%.

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In 2021, the Thai economy expanded by 1.6%, recovering from a 6.2% contraction in 2020.

In addition, the Government plans to introduce measures to combat high oil prices, the PM says.

In related news, Bangkok may soon ease more Covid-19 restrictions, according to Dr Parnrudee Manomaipiboon from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Parnrudee says the mask mandate may soon be lifted in some public spaces and entertainment venues may be allowed to re-open if they follow strict disease prevention measures.

Meanwhile, according to Dr Kiattiphum Wongrachit from the Public Health Ministry, there has been significant improvement in Thailand’s Covid-19 situation, with new case numbers and Covid-related deaths continuing to fall.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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