K-Research puts initial haze cost at B2.6bn
published : 16 Jan 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Business
The initial economic loss from the fine dust fouling the air in Bangkok and surrounding areas is estimated at 2.6 billion baht or more, says Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research).
The loss estimate is based on opportunity cost from the haze's impact on health and tourism.
In terms of public health, K-Research estimates that dust pollution has aggravated allergic reactions for at least 50% of the roughly 2.4 million people living in Bangkok who suffer from allergies.
These patients will have to see a health practitioner at least once at an average cost of 1,000 baht per visit. The initial increase in healthcare cost arising from the dust pollution is estimated at 1.6-3.1 billion baht.
Foreign tourists are already shunning travel to Bangkok and shifting to other destinations in Thailand because of the toxic haze, but they could skip the country entirely if the problem lingers, K-Research said.
It noted that foreign media outlets have begun to report on Bangkok's status as one of the 10 worst cities for dust that exceeds world safety standards.
The capital is one of the most prominent destinations in Thailand, averaging 5 million tourists a month, with related businesses generating 80 billion baht a month.
K-Research estimates the initial opportunity cost for tourism at 1-3.5 billion baht, representing 2.5-4.5% of tourism income contributed by Bangkok.
The forecast is based on assumptions that 1-2% of foreign tourists avoid Bangkok, that those who cannot change plans shift to travel in areas free from dust impact, and that the duration of the dust problem is less than one month starting from late last year.
"The estimate of economic impact only indicates effects in monetary terms," K-Research said. "Some impact values, including long-term impact on public health, risk of illness and impact on the country's strategy to move towards becoming a medical and tourism hub, are difficult to estimate."
It said the government must address the issue in a sustainable manner to have a positive effect on Thailand.