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Thailand will take YEARS to recover, says bank chief

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Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) Veerathai Santiprabhob believes it will take several years for foreign tourist numbers to return to the 40 million level.

The central bank forecast only an estimated 8 million foreign visitors in Thailand this year, down 80 percent from last year’s record number of 39.8 million.

The BOT has forecast Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy will shrink by a record 8.1 percent, with bottom seen in the second quarter.

Veerathai said it will take about two years for the economy to return to the levels before COVID-19, adding that the most worrying issue is employment, particularly in the service and manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile a research institute connected to another of Thailand’s leading financial institutions has painted a grim picture of Thailand’s tourist industry recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

They said it could be more than four-years before things get back to anything like normal.

The grim outlook was part of many stats that will come as no surprise to anyone connected to the tourist industry.

Krungthai Compass spokesman Phachornphot Nantharamas said that revenue from tourism for this year will be down from 2.1 trillion baht to just 910 billion – a 70% drop on 2019.

He noted that arrivals were down from 39 million to just 6.8 million tourists during the first 3-months of 2020 and ZERO tourists in the 6-months since. But perhaps the most dire prediction was that a full recovery of tourism in Thailand – that was formerly around 20% of the nation’s GDP – is three to four years away

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