Crisis cuts at projected tourist income

Crisis cuts at projected tourist income

Thailand is estimated to lose 80-100 billion baht in income, mainly from tourism, because of the deadly virus outbreak, shaving economic growth by 0.5-0.7 percentage points this year.

Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), said the coronavirus outbreak is expected to deliver both direct and indirect impacts on the local economy.

The direct impact, for instance, is a sharp fall in Chinese tourists after China banned outbound group tours until late March, which coincides with the high season for tourism.

The ban will take a heavy toll on tourism-related business such as airlines, tour guides, hotels and resorts, Mr Thanavath said.

"The Chinese economy plays a vital role in the economies of other countries across the world," he said. "What happens in China will also ripple across other countries, including Thailand, which is key to China's supply chains."

According to Mr Thanavath, once the Chinese economy and the purchasing power of local people weaken, Thailand's exports will take a hit.

He identified many negative factors, including disarray over the annual budget and widespread drought.

Thailand's economic growth is likely to be lower than 2.5% this year, down from the 2.8% predicted earlier this month, he said.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry is yet to be able to evaluate the impact on Thai exports, adding that seven Thai trade centres in China (including Hong Kong) are consulting with the private sector, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and related parties in China to assess the impact.

Results of the consultation are likely to be available over the next few days, he said.

Mr Jurin said the ministry is also awaiting the results of the consultation before deciding whether to go ahead with fruit roadshows in China at Nanning in the Guangxi region, scheduled for April 22-23.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, the economic planning unit of the Commerce Ministry, said the office has been closely observing the virus outbreak and expects minimal impact on Thai exports this year.

She expects the Chinese government to get the outbreak under control soon.

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