Thailand’s revitalized tourism sector has given the country a much-needed economic boost, with gross domestic product (GDP) reaching a 4.5% year-on-year expansion in the third quarter.
Nikkei reports that the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) made the announcement on Monday, saying that the economic lift came despite the effects of inflation.
The growth in the third quarter matched expectations of recovery after the country expanded 2.5% during the previous three months.
“The Thai economy started to rebound in the fourth quarter of last year and is now growing at an accelerating rate,” Danucha Pichayanan, the NESDC’s secretary-general, told reporters on Monday.
The NESDC also predicts full-year growth of 3.2%, up from the 2.7% to 3.2% range stated in August, with growth of 3% to 4% now predicted for 2023.
The renewed economic growth comes on the back of Thailand’s revived tourism industry, which accounts for approximately 18% of GDP. Thailand’s world-renowned tourism industry awoke from its coronavirus-induced hibernation in July, when the government began reopening the country to fully vaccinated travelers.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) suggests that the country has seen some 7.6 million foreign tourists so far this year, with a forecast of 10 million by the end of 2022.
Next year, the country could see up to 18 million, still a much smaller volume than the 39 million international arrivals recorded in 2019.
Although tourism and its knock-on effects provide a big boost to the Thai economy, the NESDC is watching inflation closely, forecasting the 2022 headline inflation rate at 6.3%, dropping to the 2.5% to 3.5% range next year.