BOT governor: Thai economic engines not powerful anymore

Thailand’s economic engines may not be as strong as they previously were, the central bank governor said on Thursday, as the country’s vital tourism industry has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The structure of the Thai economy remains unchanged even after 40 years,” Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT), told a business seminar called ‘Looking Beyond Covid-19.’

While much of the world has shifted completely, the country is still reliant on exports of automobiles, petroleums, electronics, as well as tourism, Sethaput said.

Thailand’s tourism industry, which once accounted for 15 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), is now finding a way to reclaim its trophy by reopening borders to vaccinated visitors from some countries in November.

However, Sethaput said that it would take a long time to recover to pre-pandemic levels of 40 million arrivals per year. 

Most research units estimate tourist arrivals in 2021 at only around 200,000.

To tackle the downturn on a broader scale, the governor stressed that the country would have to revamp its economy by incorporating digital economy and sustainability in a timely manner.

“If these economic engines are not boosted quickly, the Thai economy may expand at a slower pace,” he added.

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