FTI: Revival pledge boosts confidence

FTI: Revival pledge boosts confidence

Restaurants, spas, and tourism-related businesses on Silom Road have seen a fall in customers. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Restaurants, spas, and tourism-related businesses on Silom Road have seen a fall in customers. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's controversial goal to reopen virus-battered Thailand within 120 days will help boost business confidence, even if there is a risk of more Covid-19 infections, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The premier announced on Wednesday, "it is time to jointly take a risk that is well-assessed and manageable" for the sake of business survival.

While agreeing with the reopening plan, the FTI said whether the target is achievable depends largely on the state's mass inoculation scheme.

"A full reopening of the country will help many businesses and boost the economy," said FTI vice-chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul.

"The tourism sector and related businesses such as restaurants, spas and factories that supply products to these businesses will recover."

The government earlier announced its plans to reopen Phuket, allowing vaccinated foreign tourists to visit the resort island without quarantine starting July 1.

"So far, 64% of Phuket residents have been vaccinated and the numbers are expected to reach 70% soon," said Mr Kriengkrai.

Chairit Simaroj, managing director of local oil trader Susco Plc, said the easing of strict travel restrictions will also help oil sales return to their pre-pandemic levels.

"If we can manage to reopen the country, we still need to keep our guard up," he said.

The FTI previously voiced concerns over a delay in distributing vaccines to people due to a vaccine shortage.

The problem could lead to a setback that may erode public trust in the Prayut administration.

If the government cannot handle the vaccine scarcity, it will not make good progress in economic recovery, said Mr Kriengkrai.

During a TV broadcast on Wednesday, Gen Prayut referred to concerns over vaccine shortages, saying the government already signed contracts to buy 105.5 million doses of vaccines, which is adequate to immunise a large number of people this year.

This statement by Gen Prayut should help increase business confidence, said Mr Kriengkrai.

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