After being severely hit by a surge of COVID-19 cases in the third quarter of 2021, Thailand’s economic activity has subsequently rebounded and is expected to grow by 1.0 percent this year, according to the World Bank’s latest Thailand Economic Monitor “Living with COVID in a Digital World” published today.
Economic activity is expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels end-2022, with progress on vaccinations and a resumption of tourist arrivals providing support for the recovery. Growth is projected to accelerate to 3.9 percent in 2022 and 4.3 percent in 2023, driven by a recovery in service sector activity. If the current pace of vaccinations of around 750,000 per day is maintained, and in the absence of a further resurgence of COVID-19, consumer confidence and international tourist confidence is expected to strengthen.
The report emphasizes that further vaccine distribution and policies that continue to protect citizens are the key catalysts for the economy to achieve the pre-COVID output level by the end of 2022.
“The economy is expected to gain momentum in the fourth quarter of 2021, fueled by domestic travel and increased local mobility,” said Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, World Bank Senior Economist for Thailand.
“The pace of the recovery will depend on the extent of the pick-up in foreign tourists and domestic consumption.”Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, World Bank Senior Economist for Thailand.
Digital Technology Key to Supporting Thailand’s Recovery
Going forward, the adoption of digital technologies has the potential to support Thailand’s recovery from COVID-19 and ensure a more competitive economy over the longer-term.
Since the pandemic started in March 2020, 30 percent of all digital service consumers in Thailand were new and consumption among internet users was 90 percent, the second highest in the region after Singapore. According to the report, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in Thailand, in large part as a response to extended mobility restrictions and to keep operations running.