Thai economy may grow 4% this year on tourism – deputy PM

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s economy could grow as much as 4% this year, which would be the fastest rate in five years, bolstered by a rebound in the tourism sector and increased domestic consumption, a deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

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FILE PHOTO: People walk at Kamala beach in Phuket

Anticipated new investment will also help, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is in charge of economic affairs, told a seminar.

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“The economy will definitely be better than last year… despite some impact from energy prices,” he said.

“Today the economic situation is in recovery and will soon return to normal,” he said, adding foreign tourist arrivals were expected at more than 20 million this year.

Thailand’s economic recovery has lagged that of other Southeast Asian nations, with the crucial tourism sector just starting to rebound last year with 11.15 million foreign tourist arrivals.

Last week, the finance ministry maintained its 2023 economic growth forecast at 3.8%, but cut its 2022 growth estimate to 3.0% from 3.4% as exports weakened.

The government will report official 2022 gross domestic product data on Feb. 17.

(Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies)

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