The annual vegetarian festival, scheduled to run from Oct 15-23, is expected to generate spending of 44.6 billion baht, the highest in 10 years and a 5.5% increase over last year’s figure.
Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), attributed the anticipated increase to greater consumer confidence in the economy.
“Both individuals and entrepreneurs are bullish about the improved economic conditions, partly attributed to the government’s economic stimulus measures, while most of the entrepreneurs surveyed believe the Thai economy this year should grow by around 2.5% to 3%,” he said on Friday.
In a survey by the university of 1,280 respondents nationwide, 39.4% said they are planning to follow a vegetarian diet.
Among the reasons for not observing a vegetarian diet during the festival were high food prices, a lack of intention, and a poor economy. Some 77.9% plan to follow a vegetarian diet for only a few meals as the prices of vegetarian food and ingredients are expected to rise.
For those expecting to follow a vegetarian diet, the average spending this year is forecast to be 4,587 baht per person, up from 4,185 baht a year ago, excluding travel and expenses in other provinces.
In a separate development, the Internal Trade Department yesterday reported that the prices of most fresh vegetables remain stable, even though many areas of the country have been affected by heavy rainfall and floods.
Udom Srisomsong, deputy director-general of the department, said key production areas have not yet been damaged, ensuring a continuous supply of vegetables to the market. Nevertheless, the department will closely monitor the situation as the festival season is fast approaching.
If high prices or shortages of vegetables are seen in any areas, the department is ready to distribute vegetables from unaffected areas to mitigate the impact on consumers, he said.