Thailand’s economy contracted during the first quarter of 2020 for the first time in six years, officials said on Monday, and forecast further economic turbulence to come.
Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, Tossaporn Sirisamphan, head of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said.
GDP forecasts for this year have been revised from previous projections of between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent growth down to a contraction of between 5 and 6 per cent.
The Thai economy was shrinking “due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the world’s economy which has also affected tourism,’’ Tossaporn said.
Revenue from tourism, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of Thai GDP, is forecast to fall by 68.8 per cent this year compared to 2019, he added.
The first quarter of 2020 saw a 38 per cent decline in the number of tourists to Thailand, the first time the country has recorded a fall in tourist arrivals since 2016, the NESDC chief said.
But there was light at the end of the tunnel, he added.
“The NESDC expects the economy to see its worst decline in the second quarter and we hope that it will return to normal in the third quarter, and will bounce back in the fourth quarter,’’ Tossaporn added.
“We hope that there will be a vaccine by 2021 which would help the world be back to normal again,’’ he said.