Forget trips and tours, Thailand now backs auto sector to lift economic gloom
From serene beaches to crowded markets and beyond, Thailand has been the international destination for travelers of all kinds. Want a budget-friendly trip? Thailand. Seek a luxurious and exclusive beach stay? Thailand. Want to party till you drop? Sure, Thailand again. But Covid-19 pandemic has come as a major party spoiler for the tiny country with influx of foreign visitors dropping to next to nil. For a country that primarily depends on its tourism sector for the well-being of its economy, the past year or thereabouts has been unprecedented and that is why other sectors may need to pull a truckload of weight.
In comes the Thai auto sector.
The auto sector in Thailand is hardly among the biggest in Asia but the scope of having the country has a base from which to export vehicles, accessories and components is perhaps there for the taking.
Reuters reports that Thailand, Asia's fourth-largest auto assembly and export hub for car makers like Toyota and Honda has been increasing its share of auto-related exports.
It could be a viable way of ensuring the economy gets back on track as waiting for tourists to return could be similar to crystal-ball gazing. Many in the country feel that with mutations in the virus, Covid-19 is here to stay and tourism is likely to figure lower down on list of priorities.
As such, auto industry could provide some soothing balm.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) predicts exports of passenger vehicles from the country could hit 850,000 units in 2021, up from its own previous prediction of 750,000. This is also significantly higher than the 736,000 units which had been exported in 2020. Among the key foreign markets where vehicles are headed are Australia, Vietnam and Japan.
And while the ramp up in auto exports may not be able to compensate for how much the tourism sector has suffered, it could well be a silver lining on the Covid-19