Spending mood upbeat ahead of holiday

Spending mood upbeat ahead of holiday

Red lanterns are sold at Yaowarat market in Chinatown ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year. (Photos: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Red lanterns are sold at Yaowarat market in Chinatown ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year. (Photos: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Spending among Thai residents during the Chinese New Year festival, which starts on Thursday this week, is expected to reach the highest level in 11 years thanks to the country's economic recovery after the pandemic.

According to the annual survey of consumer spending for the holiday by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), spending is expected to surge to 50 billion baht, up 10.1% from 45 billion the previous year.

Thanavath Phonvichai, the UTCC president, said though the economic recovery has been uneven, people are starting to plan for travel and increase their spending.

As a result, spending during Chinese New Year this year should be higher than in 2023.

Foreign arrivals of 800,000 to 1 million are expected to visit Thailand during the festival, injecting an additional 5-10 billion baht into the Thai economy, bringing the total estimated spending to 60 billion baht.

If the number of tourists exceeds this estimate, spending may reach up to 70 billion baht, as the Chinese New Year is considered the No.3 festival in terms of spending after the New Year and Songkran, he said.

"Thailand's economy is gradually recovering following the pandemic, but it is still lower than the pre-Covid era when annual spending topped 60 billion baht for the holiday," said Mr Thanavath.

"However, people perceive the Thai economy as not shining as brightly as they hoped, while product prices rise, resulting in cautious spending. Most people believe the economy will improve in the third quarter and are optimistic for the fourth quarter."

In a related development, the university's survey on consumer spending during Valentine's Day found most respondents perceive the atmosphere to be livelier this year compared with last year.

This positive shift was attributed to the improving economy, the availability of more travel destinations, and government policies increasing economic activity.

In terms of financial preparedness, this year individuals are planning to spend an average of 1,144 baht per person on gifts for their lovers, an increase from 1,100 baht per person the previous year.

Generation X is forecast to spend the most on gifts for their loved ones, with an average value of 1,446 baht per person.

According to the survey, overall spending during Valentine's Day this year is expected to average 2,125 baht per person, higher than 1,848 baht per person last year.

A total of 2.52 billion baht is anticipated to be injected into the economy during Valentine's Day, up 5.4% from the previous year, according to the UTCC.

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