Bangkok, 21 February 2022 (TDI): Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDC) predicts that an increase in exports and fiscal disbursement along with an increase in tourism will allow for healthy economic growth.

NESDC also predicts a growth rate of 4.9% with better performance in the first quarter of this year. The Central Bank is expected to keep its monetary policy supportive of the economy.

The Central Bank has set the interest rate at 0.50% while the government continues to provide billions of dollars to help stimulate the economy.

Thailand’s economy was hit with a major setback last year as the pandemic continued to ravage the entire world but despite the economy showing some recovery, growth and other indicators still remain low.

Gross Development Product (GDP) outlook remained at 3.5%-4.5%. GDP was hindered by the impact of the Omicron variant which began to spread rapidly in the economy late last year.

The Omicron variant was particularly heavy on the tourism industry, this sector accounts for nearly 12% of the country’s economy.

Even with increasing vaccination rates and global travel restrictions being eased only a fraction of tourists are expected to come to Thailand compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“…With the still-sluggish recovery in foreign tourist arrivals despite the border reopening in November, we expect the recovery to be gradual and highly uneven.” –Charnon Boonnuch, an economist at Nomura.

The effects from Omicron, however, are expected to be short-lived even though the outbreak halted Thailand’s Test & Go facility for international travelers.

The effects are projected to be minuscule in the long run. Thailand’s GDP growth stood at just 1.6%, one of the slowest in Southeast Asia.

The state planning agency expects 5.5 million tourists to enter the county in 2022 which ups the previous forecast of 5 million in November.

Overall recovery is expected to continue to be weak as tourists are still well below pre-pandemic levels. Inflationary pressure is also on the rise.