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Does Thailand Have an "Over-Reliance on Tourism"?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the notion if you will that Thailand has an "over-reliance" on Tourism. I saw this in a recent article from CNBC, that is, the article is titled: Once Asia's Top Performer, the Thai Baht is now Becoming the Region's Worst Hit Currency and to quote directly: "Thailand's over-reliance on tourism is going to be "very challenging" for the country as it seeks to reopen up to tourists while still battling with the pandemic, Nomura’s Chief ASEAN Economist Euben Paracuelles said on Thursday." 

So the question posed is "Does Thailand have an over-reliance on tourism?" And I would say, well yes, I think that is safe to say. Depending on what you read, the GDP of Thailand, 11 to 17% depending on what you read comes from Tourism. I would argue probably even higher than that 17% as certain things come indirectly from tourism. One thing nobody ever seems to keep in mind is the number of tourists that come here and end up living here; marrying a local or just retiring here and then contributing to the country thereafter. So I would say actually the knock on impact of Tourism has an even bigger impact on overall GDP. 

That said, this whole notion of Thailand's "over reliance" on tourism is like, "well what do you want us to rely on? what do you want Thailand to rely on?" That is like saying "does Saudi Arabia have an "over-reliance" on oil?" Well maybe but what else are they going to do. With natural resources, you can actually fall into something of a trap where a country can become so dependent on those natural resources it can have a really detrimental impact on the rest of the country. With tourism, and I can understand where you need to be concerned about an over reliance on any one sector to one's GDP, but let's keep in mind first of all that this isn't the entirety of Thailand's GDP. There is a lot more going on here but also it is part of the GDP that is created by a certain level of ingenuity. It is not a natural resource in the sense of like diamonds or coal or gold or oil where you let the rest of your economy languish. The Tourism Economy creates all sorts of knock-on economic benefits on top of it. Now it is not the end all, be all. It is not like having a vibrant tech sector or something but it is a substantial part of the economy and what is really sad to watch having been over here and watched this country go through the throws of these economic restrictions, it is really hard to watch. We have quoted it on this channel before. I think the Tourism Council of Thailand thinks that roughly 2 - 3 million Thai were displaced from their jobs as a result of all of this. That is tough to watch and I think it is very tough for an economy to endure and I really hope that we don't have to see Thailand endure this any longer.