Chinese New Year spending in Thailand set to hit decade high

Photo courtesy of Wichan Chareonkiatpakul

The upcoming Chinese New Year festival, set to start on Thursday, February 8, is predicted to witness the largest financial outlay by Thai locals in over a decade, thanks to the nation’s economic resurgence following the pandemic’s impact.

The annual survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), monitoring consumer expenditure during the festival, foresees a 10.1% rise to 50 billion baht (US$1.39 billion), compared to last year’s 45 billion baht (US$1.25 billion).

Thanavath Phonvichai, UTCC President, acknowledged the unevenness of the economic recovery but noted an increased propensity for travel planning and higher spending. Consequently, this year’s Chinese New Year spending could surpass that of 2023.

The festival is expected to attract between 800,000 to 1 million international visitors to Thailand, contributing an additional 5-10 billion baht to the national economy. This could potentially elevate the overall festival spending to an estimated 60 billion baht (US$1.67).

If a tourist influx surpasses these estimates, festival expenditures might rise to a staggering 70 billion baht. The Chinese New Year is the third most significant festival for consumer spending, preceded only by the New Year and Songkran festivities, Thanavath explained.

“Thailand’s economy is gradually recovering following the pandemic but it is still lower than the pre-Covid era when annual spending topped 60 billion baht (US$1.67 billion) for the holiday. However, people perceive the Thai economy as not shining as brightly as they hoped, while product prices rise, resulting in cautious spending. Most people believe the economy will improve in the third quarter and are optimistic for the fourth quarter.”

Simultaneously, the UTCC’s survey on Valentine’s Day consumer spending revealed a more vibrant atmosphere compared to the previous year. The improved economy, the increase in travel destinations, and government policies stimulating economic activity are considered the driving factors behind this positive shift, reported Bangkok Post.

Financial readiness this year shows individuals planning to spend an average of 1,144 baht (US$31.97) per person on Valentine’s Day gifts, a slight increase from last year’s 1,100 baht (US$30.74). Generation X is expected to outspend other age groups, with an average expenditure of 1,446 baht (US$40.41) per person.

Overall, Valentine’s Day spending is anticipated to average 2,125 baht (US$59.39) per person, a considerable increase from last year’s 1,848 baht (US$51.65). This increased spending is expected to inject a total of 2.52 billion baht (US$70 million) into the economy, a 5.4% increase from last year, as per UTCC’s survey.

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Alex Morgan

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