BoT revises 2017 GDP upward

The Bank of Thailand has revised GDP for 2017 upwards from 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent based on improved export growth that is predicted to hit 2.2 percent this year compared to zero growth last year. The tourism sector also remains strong with the number of tourist arrivals expected to increase by 400,000 from 34.1 million to 34.5 million for the entire year. They predict next year’s rate to hit 3.6 percent. The Monetary Policy Committee announced that it will maintain the policy interest rate at 1.5 percent a year to ensure continuous economic growth.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced that tourism revenues in the past six months increased by 4.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The country earned 1.33 trillion baht from the tourism sector from October, 2016 to March 27, 2017. Foreign tourists accounted for 860 billion baht and the remaining came from domestic tourists. Tourism revenue from foreign tourists increased by 2.7  percent and domestic tourists by 8.3 percent. The majority of foreign visitors were from China, Russia, Malaysia, England and the United States. The Andaman Sea was ranked the most popular destination in Thailand followed by the North and then the East Coast.

Thailand’s lifestyle exports are predicted to grow 5 percent this year; furniture, home decor, artificial flowers, perfume, handicrafts, textiles, stationery, office supplies, toys and housewares are considered lifestyle products and are in popular demand overseas especially the US, the EU and China all of which are seeing recovering economies. Many of these sales are from cross border shoppers purchasing from online channels. PayPal predicts that Thailand’s cross border online shopping will grow by 84 percent this year and that cross border shopping has grown much faster than other e-commerce channels. PayPal research found that the number of online shoppers in Thailand reached 7.9 million last year, with 2 million purchasing goods from websites based abroad. Cross border shoppers purchased mainly fashion, electronics and digital entertainment and education. Overall, Thailand's e-commerce spending is predicted to increase by 16 percent to 377 billion baht in 2017 and 426 billion in 2018 from about 326 billion in 2016.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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