Festival spending projected to hit B42.2bn
Spending at this year's annual vegetarian festival, scheduled to run from Sept 26 to Oct 4, is expected to improve compared with tepid spending in 2021, when the pandemic was still raging.
According to the latest survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), spending during the festival is expected to increase by 5.2% this year to 42.2 billion baht.
"We expect people to spend more during the upcoming vegetarian festival, with the number of people participating in the event expected to increase," said Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the UTCC.
"Yet overall spending sentiment has not returned to normal as most people believe the pace of the country's economic recovery remains relatively slow. Many of them remain cautious about their spending."
According to Mr Thanavath, people are still fretting over Thailand's current and future economic prospects.
They remain reluctant to spend more on travel, new cars or durable goods, he said.
People are also calling on the government to help speed up revitalisation of the overall economy, tackle the higher cost of living and ensure political stability.
The government is being urged to accelerate investment in infrastructure projects, stimulate private investment and trigger economic activity, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, said Mr Thanavath.
The UTCC forecasts the economy to start a clearer and stronger recovery in the fourth quarter this year, driven largely by growing exports and a tourism rebound.
He said export expansion, a tourism recovery and increases in the domestic daily minimum wage are expected to help propel the country's economic growth by 3.5-4% in the fourth quarter.
The university expects the economy to grow at a rate of 3.0-3.5% this year, with an inflation rate of 6-6.5% and export growth of 6-8%.
Mr Thanavath said the rising cost of living and higher production costs for manufacturers that may affect their profits and sales while reducing customer spending should be monitored, as well as rising interest rates that may affect the costs and liquidity of the business sector. He said the continued baht weakness is another area that requires close scrutiny.