The chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), Sanan Angubolkul, is feeling upbeat about the country’s economic prospects after the government on June 16 announced its plan to reopen the country to international tourists and return to normal business conditions within 120 days or by mid-October.
He predicted the reopening will help draw foreign tourists back to the country and provide a boost to the country’s economy by 0.3 percentage points this year.
Speaking at a seminar titled “Empowering Thailand 2021”, Mr Sanan said the country’s reopening will allow the tourism sector to resume operations and lure international tourists, resulting in spending worth about 50-100 billion baht between October and December this year.
“Spending by international tourists will likely boost Thai economic growth by 0.3% to 0.8-2.3% this year, up from 0.5-2.0% previously projected by The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB),” Mr Sanan said. “The country’s reopening will help Thailand rehabilitate the domestic economy faster as tourists no longer travel only on weekends because they can now work from anywhere.”
Mr Sanan also suggested the government speed up promoting tourism in new areas in various provinces, citing a trend of international tourists wanting to stay in Thailand longer than anticipated.
According to Mr Sanan, Thailand is currently in a rehabilitation period and the 120-day target to reopen the country will help build confidence in the business sector and financial institutions, who are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mr Sanan also urged the government to accelerate the rollout of assistance measures to hotels, citing enormous damage is likely if more have to remain closed.
“Currently, about 38% of the hotel sector is still operating, with more than 40% partially open and the remaining already closed. So, rapid assistance is desperately needed,” he said.
According to Mr Sanan, the TCC itself is also looking to find solutions in order to help members who have failed to gain access to funding due to regulatory obstacles.
“I think the most important thing is for us to have faith,” he said. “Once our leader dares to make a decision, we, the private sector, are always ready to push and build confidence,” Mr Sanan said.
According to Mr Sanan, the TCC is scheduled to call a joint meeting with the TCC’s members in provinces nationwide tomorrow and later a meeting with 25 foreign chambers of commerce, commercial ambassadors and consulates to prepare the reopening of the country by emphasising that the tourism sector will be the star that drives Thai economic recovery.