Thailand GDP to grow 3per cent-3.5per cent this year as tourism rebounds - Finance Minister
BANGKOK :Thailand's economy is expected to grow by 3per cent to 3.5per cent this year and 3per cent to 4per cent next year, helped by increased exports and a pickup in the vital tourism sector after reopening the country to visitors, the finance minister said on Saturday.
The Southeast Asian country expects eight million to 10 million foreign tourist arrivals this year, having received five million so far this year, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a Radio Thailand programme.
That is far above last year's 428,000 visitors when the economy grew 1.5per cent, among the slowest in the region. In 2019 before COVID-19, there were nearly 40 million foreign tourists.
Thailand's recovery has lagged others in the region due to a slow recovery in the tourism sector, which typically accounts for about 12per cent of gross domestic product.
"Our economic recovery is slow but stable," Arkhom said.
Exports should increase 10per cent this year, boosted by a weak baht, and continue to support the economy next year, alongside tourism and government investment, he said.
The government reported on Saturday the jobless rate dropped to 1.3per cent in July, its lowest since the start of the pandemic, from 1.4per cent in June.
Thailand's definition of unemployment is narrow, however, and analysts say the figures do not catch its significant unofficial economy.
(Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Kitiphong Thaichareon, Satawasin Staporncharnchai and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by William Mallard)