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High-income tourists to return next year despite K-shaped recovery: TDRI

Nov 27. 2020
Somkiat Tangkitvanich
Somkiat Tangkitvanich
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By THE NATION

Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), says the global economy is recovering in a K-shaped trend, meaning some countries are recovering fast while others spiral downwards despite the discovery of Covid-19 vaccines.

“TDRI estimates the global economy will contract by 4.4 per cent on average [this year], with China growing fastest thanks to its effective outbreak management and strong economic structure,” Somkiat told a seminar titled “Global and Thai economy after Covid-19”. And while Covid-19 was not the deadliest disease, it is the biggest threat to the global economy since the 2008 global depression, he added.

“A Covid-19 vaccine should be available by mid-2021, with pre-orders now surpassing 3 billion doses,” he said.

“The arrival of vaccines will enable Thailand and other countries to open for tourism. We calculate the first group of tourists to visit Thailand will be high-earners, as they will be among the first to obtain the vaccine commercially,” he added.

Although Thailand had successfully contained the outbreak, resulting in only 60 domestic deaths, the country still needed to improve in other aspects, Somkiat said.

“The World Economic Forum reported that Thailand is still suffering from wealth distribution issues where development is only occurring in the Central region and rarely in rural areas,” he said. “This has resulted in economic disparity and lack of progress in technology and innovation at regional levels.”

He prescribed three ways to improve the Thai government’s efficiency – eradicating corruption, reforming laws and regulations, and improving government services.

“Thailand has large tax revenues as well as natural resources to support national development. But corruption, legal obstacles and lack of efficiency in government services have hindered both short- and long-term development.”

He said Thailand should learn from Estonia, which has been leaping forward after the government applied digital technology to all its services, enabling citizens to complete any government-related transaction using only an ID card.

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