Economic damage from southern floods could rise to 120 billion baht if there is more rain and the water does not drain from rubber and oil palm growing areas, the Thai Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday.
Vichai Assarasakorn, vice-chairman of the chamber, said rubber trees die after 20 days in floodwater and oil palm trees after a month.
If the flooding which began in the New Year and spread over 12 of the 14 southern provinces drains off in a few weeks, economic damage would be capped at 15 billion baht, about 0.1% of the GDP, he said.
If the flooding continues over the next few months, economic damage would rise to 85-120 billion baht, equivalent to 0.5-0.7% of the gross domestic product as it would hit rubber and palm plantations.
The losses in the livestock sector were substantial, but only limited in the tourism sector as travellers could move from the Gulf area to southern destinations facing the Andaman Sea, Mr Vichai said.
The impact was greatest on hotels in the Gulf of Thailand area. He said 10-20% of room reservations at Gulf hotels were cancelled, but special events and promotions could draw tourists back there during the coming Songkran festival.