World Bank raises Thailand 2023 growth outlook to 3.9% as tourists return


BANGKOK — Thailand’s economy is projected to grow 3.9 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 3.6 per cent, helped by private consumption growth and a recovery in tourism, the World Bank said on Wednesday (June 28).


Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy expanded 2.6 per cent in 2022, when its tourism sector began to rebound after broad pandemic-related travel curbs were eased.


Growth is expected at 3.6 per cent in 2024 and 3.4 per cent in 2025, with tourism and private consumption remaining the primary drivers of growth as external demand weakens, the bank said in a statement.


The return of tourists, particularly from China, has strengthened the tourism outlook. Arrivals are projected to reach a greater-than-expected 28.5 million this year, 84 per cent of the pre-pandemic 2019 level, it said.


However, downside risks remain as weaker-than-expected global growth and political uncertainty pose key challenges to the near-term growth outlook, the bank said.


Thailand is in the process of forming a new government after May’s election, but doubts linger whether the leader of the winning Move Forward party has enough support to be voted prime minister.


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