Even before the outbreak of the now largely infamous COVID-19 coronavirus, the economy in Thailand was seeing something a steady downwards spiral. Not something it couldn’t recover from – given the country’s powerful tourist industry, but the presence of the virus has imaginably made things worse.
When a country has a large reliance on its tourism industry to help keep the economy up, then there will be obvious issues that arise when travel bans are imposed, and quarantines are made law. In fact, according to the World Bank’s Thailand Economic Monitor, it may take another two or so years for the Thai economy to recover to its pre-COVID-19 GDP output levels.
Whilst Thailand had quickly risen to the forefront of the battle against the virus, it had been noted that it was rather successfully holding back the tide of infection and deaths through its quick treatment of the symptoms and effective quarantining measures. Even despite this, its economy ended up amongst the worst hit.
The tourism sector in Thailand is known to make up at least 15% of the country’s GDP. Since March of 2020, the sector had almost entirely ceased, and is to this day struggling to return to any profitable margin. Until the virus is fully eradicated, however, it isn’t likely that Thailand’s tourism economy will see any sort of returns.
Thailand’s received much praise for putting the health of its citizens over the stability of its economy, though the impacts are already becoming more obvious as many businesses have had to shut down for good and unemployment rates have seen generally higher statistics than in more developed countries. Even despite this, after lockdown restrictions had seen a slight easing in late 2020, the country’s domestic economic activity returned to near normal rates. This may perhaps signal that it isn’t too late for Thailand to make a good economic comeback, on top of handling the virus situation extraordinarily well.
The overall weight of this economic disarray can be rivalled only by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98. The policy rate in The Bank of Thailand had already been reduced at least three times, and thus far, it doesn’t look as though the situation will see any major improvements anytime in the near future.
So how will it recover? At the moment, Thailand is going through a sort of redesign, developing itself into a place to visit for wealthy tourists in order to offset the massive losses that have been seen in recent times. This does, of course, mean that only the biggest and most popular hotels and resorts will survive whilst the smaller to averaging ones are likely to go out of business – some permanently, for sure. However, it may be a necessity for an economic comeback.
Thailand has made it through thick and thin over the years, and though it may be in an economic rollback right now, it can certainly re-stabilise itself if given the time. It may be a long while before the average traveller can make their way through Thailand again, but when that time comes eventually, its tourist industry will have re-grown to be the wealthy business that it’s always been known to be.
* Required Field
** Required Field.(will not be published)