The country is expected to receive 27.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up from 21.5 million expected earlier, helped by China’s reopening, said Pornchai Thiraveja, head of the fiscal policy office at Thailand’s finance ministry. .
Chinese tourists return
The government expects at least 5 million Chinese visitors this year, about half the 2019 figure before the pandemic.
Overall, foreign tourist arrivals hit a record close to 40 million in 2019, with spending of 1.91 trillion baht ($58.07 billion). Tourism accounted for about 12% of GDP.
GDP is disappointing
Official gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2022 are due out next month. In 2021, GDP grew by 1.5%, among the lowest rates in the region.
“The economy continues to recover, with 2022 growth returning to pre-COVID levels…therefore fiscal measures will only be used where necessary and will be targeted,” Pornchai Thiraveja said.
Tourism in 2022 recovered slowly
Thailand’s economic recovery has lagged behind that of other Southeast Asian countries, with the crucial tourism sector just beginning to rebound last year with 11.15 million foreign tourist arrivals.
However, exports, another key driver of growth, may rise just 0.4% this year, instead of rising 2.5% as previously forecast due to a global slowdown, Pornchai said. Thiravéja.
A hard currency…
A stronger baht does not help exports. The ministry predicted an average of 32.5 baht to the dollar this year after 35.07 last year, with Thailand among the countries expected to experience continued economic recovery, Pornchai Thiraveja said.
Lower inflation expected this year
Average headline inflation is expected to stand at 2.8% this year, Pornchai Thiraveja said, down from a 24-year high of 6.08% last year, which was well above the target range for the central bank from 1% to 3%.