Thailand’s booming autos exports help plug gaping tourism hole


BANGKOK, June 30 (Reuters) – As tourism-reliant Thailand struggles with a collapse in foreign visitors, the country’s auto sector is picking up some of the slack with the value of car exports tipped to surge to a record this year as the global economy reopens.

The Southeast Asian nation is Asia’s second-most popular tourist destination but its famous beaches, street markets and pagodas have been starved of business over the past year due to pandemic restrictions that have crippled global travel.

While Thailand’s central bank has downgraded its projections for this year’s economic growth due to the hit to consumption and tourism, it last week raised its 2021 export growth forecast to an 11-year high of 17.1%, up from the 10.0% rise forecast in March.

Much of that is thanks to exports of cars, parts and accessories, Thailand’s biggest shipment, which surged 170% year-on-year in May, the fastest pace in more than eight years, customs data showed.


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