Thailand to benefit from China's optimized COVID-19 strategy: expert

Xinhua, January 9, 2023

Tourists are seen at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 31, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

China's optimized COVID-19 strategy will help boost Thailand's economic recovery amid a gloomy global economic outlook, a Thai expert said.

The return of Chinese tourists will bolster the tourism industry and related businesses such as accommodation, transportation, food and beverage, and retail, Kevalin Wangpichayasuk, assistant managing director of Kasikorn Research Center, said in a recent written interview with Xinhua.

It was estimated that in the pre-COVID-19 era, the consumption of Chinese tourists accounted for more than 3 percent of Thailand's nominal GDP, she added.

Tourists have fun at Jim Thompson Farm, three hours drive away from Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 25, 2022.(Xinhua/Chen Jiabao)

The Thai government expects about 300,000 Chinese tourists to visit Thailand in the first three months of this year. It also sets a target of approximately 5 million Chinese tourists in 2023, equivalent to 45 percent of Chinese arrivals in 2019.

Kevalin noted that she does not expect a major return of Chinese tourists until the second half of this year, or as soon as the second quarter of this year, due to visa processing time and gradual resumption of international flights, among others.

In addition to tourism, increased economic activities with China are bound to promote trade and investment between the two countries, she said.

"We expect that Thai exports to China in 2023 would be better than other export markets and outperform the growth projection of total exports," she added.