Economy falters despite holiday boost
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Economy falters despite holiday boost

B140-200bn injection not enough to reverse stagnation, warn experts

Tourists celebrate Songkran at CentralWorld Songkran Fest 2024 on Saturday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Tourists celebrate Songkran at CentralWorld Songkran Fest 2024 on Saturday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) expects 140-200 billion baht to circulate in the country during this year's Songkran festival, 11.8 billion baht of which will be spent by 10 million overseas visitors.

This year's Songkran follows the Thai traditional holiday's recognition as an Intangible Cultural Heritage event by Unesco in December.

This prompted the government under Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to initiate a special 21-day celebration this year to capitalise on the honour and stimulate tourism and spending in the economy.

Thanavath Phonvichai, advisory chairman of the UTCC's Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting, on Saturday said that although an estimated 129 billion baht is expected to be spent by Thais during the Songkran holiday and stimulate economic growth by 2.9%, domestic spending growth remains slow.

The 13.5-billion-baht domestic spending record of 2019 will not be beaten this year, he said, adding that Thais are still careful when it comes to spending.

He said economic growth this year has not been uniform throughout the country, especially in provincial areas.

The 140 billion-200 billion baht that is expected to circulate, with 11.8 billion baht from overseas tourists, is unlikely to buck these trends.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke unveiled combined foreign tourist data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Immigration Bureau, showing 10.4 million visitors entered the kingdom from Jan 1 to April 9, a 146.21% increase from the same period last year.

The majority of tourists were from China (1.92 million), followed by Malaysia (1.27 million), Russia (670,233), South Korea (595,705) and India (519,878).

The TAT estimated the country will earn at least 100 billion baht in revenue from the spending of domestic and foreign tourists during the Songkran festival.

From April 11-17, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand expects to operate 16,307 flights or a daily average of 2,330 flights.

"The arrival of more than 10 million tourists is the reflection of the vision of the prime minister to attract tourists via visa exemption measures and an instruction to ensure the flow of immigration via airport checkpoints," he said.

"The premier also instructed state agencies to push the country as a tourism hub and destination for tourists all over the world," he added.

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