Thai PM Needs More “Big Stimulus” to Boost Economy as Tourist Arrivals Miss Target

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was disappointed with the inbound arrivals of tourists and their low spending during the stays, vowing that the kingdom needs more major stimulus to get out of this “crisis”.

Thailand is in the middle of a controversial 500 billion baht digital-wallet handout that has yet to make it into law, but the PM said that the government will not take a step back on the policy.

Speaking at the economic forum on Thursday, the prime minister said that the Thai economy was not in a good shape with foreign arrivals missing their target.

“There needs to be a big economic stimulus,” said Srettha, while adding that the government will prioritize attracting foreign investment and addressing household debt.

The comment came after the prime minister expressed his worry over slower growth of Thai economy in 3Q23 that showed 1.5% expansion, which was the slowest pace for this year.

Thailand recorded 22.2 million foreign tourists from January to October, while adding additional 1.65 million arrivals from November 1-19 with total spending of 1 trillion baht. The slower-than-expected inbound will result in Thailand missing its target for 28 million arrivals for 2023, which had been cut from 30 million projected early this year. It is still far less than nearly 40 million foreign arrivals in 2019, which spent 1.91 trillion baht before the Covid-19 derailed that growth.

Arrivals of Chinese tourist still slow despite the free visa scheme by the government since late September, aiming to boost the figure especially during the China’s National Holiday in October and New Year.


Meanwhile, Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput at the same forum also said that Thailand’s fiscal and monetary policies required space to ensure the economy remains resilient during the expansions.


Thailand’s current interest rate is now at 2.50%, while inflation was 0.3% in October was well below the Bank of Thailand’s target range for 2%. Average inflation this year is expected at 1.4% and 1.7-2.2% in 2024.