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Thai January economy slows after virus outbreak but vaccines a boost


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Thai January economy slows after virus outbreak but vaccines a boost

 

2021-02-24T104321Z_1_LYNXMPEH1N0MR_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-ECONOMY-GDP.JPG

FILE PHOTO: People visit shopping center to celebrate New Year Eve during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's economy slowed in January from the previous month as a recent coronavirus outbreak hit domestic activity but the start of the country's vaccination drive should spur confidence and tourism, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

 

The Southeast Asian country has received its first vaccines against COVID-19, with inoculations set to begin in a few days.

"The vaccines should help tourism and may draw more foreign tourists in the second half of the year," Wuttipong Jittungsakul, the ministry's deputy spokesman, told a briefing.

 

The ministry, however, is sticking to its forecast of five million foreign visitors this year, he said, adding it will review its 2.8% economic growth outlook in April.

 

The number of foreign tourists plunged to 6.7 million last year from nearly 40 million in 2019 due to an ongoing travel ban to curb the outbreak.

 

There were 7,694 foreign tourists in January, down 99.8% from the same period a year earlier, tourism ministry data showed on Wednesday. Thailand has for four months allowed in long-stay visitors who agree to undergo two weeks of quarantine.

 

After managing to get its first coronavirus outbreak under control by the middle of last year, Thailand is now dealing with a second wave that has spread across the country.

 

The economy could contract 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021 from a year earlier before gradually recovering, supported by government measures and steps to further open up the country, Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told a separate briefing.

 

Southeast Asia's may grow as much as 3.0-3.5% this year, after contracting 6.1% last year, he added.

 

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-25
 
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5 hours ago, webfact said:

The Southeast Asian country has received its first vaccines against COVID-19, with inoculations set to begin in a few days.

"The vaccines should help tourism and may draw more foreign tourists in the second half of the year," Wuttipong Jittungsakul, the ministry's deputy spokesman, told a briefing.

How is a paltry 200,000 Vaccines for a Population of 70Million going to help Tourism in the near future.

Unless Thailand can Vaccinate its entire Population by June, there will be Zero Tourists in the latter Half of this Year. Nobody will Holiday in a destination where there is a high risk of catching and Transporting the Virus back to their Homeland.

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With such low reported numbers of covid in Thailand, vaccinations are going to do little to boosting the economy, plus near impossible to track how well the vaccine is working within the population.

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