Thai Bits: COVID-19 Is Going to Hurt Economy in 2021, A COVID-19 Test Story in Phuket

COVID-19 is not just bad for Thais, it is bad for the Thai economy as well.
In recent months, the economic forecast for Thailand has been lowered to 2.3 percent as the outlook for tourism remains really poor as Thailand is experiencing a COVID-19 third wave.
The Thai Ministry of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Office forecast a 4.5 percent economic growth in 2021. This was partly based on the fact that COVID-19 appears to be weakening.
2.4 percent. In May 2021, it has dropped to 2.3 percent. By January 2021, the second wave had hit Thailand and the Ministry changed its predictions to 2.8 percent.
The Thai economic forecast assumes the Thai government will propose a stimulus package between May 2021 and the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
According to the Finance Ministry, there is the hope of an economic recovery in the fourth quarter of the year. This could mean Thailand ends the year 2021 with 2.8 percent growth.
During the first two waves, Thailand did relatively well. However, the third wave has infected many more people in Thailand and the vaccine rollout has been slow. A positive effect from the global economic recovery is being undermined by COVID-19. The Thai economy may lose 100 million Thai baht per month for the rest of 2021.
Thai exports declined by 6.6 percent in 2020. The thriving export sector could achieve as high as 11 percent in 2021.
As much as 12 percent of the Thai economy comes from tourism in a mon-COVID-19 year. Tourism brought in 2 trillion baht in 2019. In 2020, there were delays in reopening to tourists on a large scale.
In total, 6.7 million tourists had arrived in Thailand by 2020. This caused a drastic 83 percent drop in tourism revenue in 2020. The only good thing was that a lot of Chinese tourists came.
At the time when they were more optimistic, they had more plans to open Phuket and tourist spots by July 1st, with Thailand fully open in October. Those plans were dashed by the new pandemic outbreak and tourist projections of two million had been revised downward. This could be a serious blow to the economy.

A Phuket COVID-19 Test Story

Just a heads up for people.
Yesterday we entered Phuket with our family and had to do a rapid Covid19 test. My son (10 years old Dutch/Thai passport holder) also had to do the test.
As expected they charged me 500 Baht but ALSO wanted to charge my son 500 Baht. The reasoning was that he had an English name and didn’t had a Thai ID card (he only has a Thai passport). After about a good 15 minutes of back and forth, they decided they were not going to charge my Thai son. However, it was a very unpleasant experience.
So a heads up for ex-pats with half children, expect some problems if they don’t have their Thai ID card.
Stay safe!

By Tobie Oud

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