Thai economy on recovery, buoyed by tourists, minister says

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy is still on the road to recovery and is expected to grow 3.4% this year and 3.8% next year, supported by a rebound in its vital tourism sector, a said the Minister of Finance on Wednesday.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy can ride out global uncertainties, while average inflation is expected to hit 6% this year, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a World Bank event.

Last year’s 1.5% economic growth was among the slowest in the region and Thailand’s tourism sector only started to show signs of new growth this year.

From January to December 12, Thailand recorded 10.3 million foreign tourist arrivals, surpassing the government’s full-year target of 10 million, said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, at a separate business seminar.

While the country now welcomes 60,000 to 70,000 foreign tourists a day, it should end the year with 11.5 million foreign visitors, he said.

For 2023, the tourism authority said earlier that Thailand could welcome around 25 million foreign tourists if Chinese tourists return.

Thailand only welcomed 428,000 foreign tourists last year, down from nearly 40 million in 2019 before the pandemic

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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