The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus threatens to derail a fragile stabilisation in the Thai economy, already facing uncertain times amid the escalating US-China trade dispute.
According to Thanavath Phonvichai, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), Thailand is estimated to lose 80 to 100 billion baht in income, mainly from tourism, because of the deadly virus outbreak, shaving economic growth by 0.5-0.7 percentage points this year.
The Thai government has set an ambitious target of 41.8 million tourist arrivals this year but coronavirus is likely to make those figures harder to achieve.
Thailand has so far been worst hit by coronavirus outside of China, with 16 patients and 61 others quarantined preemptively.
The government has already scaled back expectations. “We will try to achieve 40 million,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said on local television.