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Omicron Lockdown Fears Push Holiday Spending to 12-Year Low

Retail Shopping Mall Store Market Thailand Bangkok

Thailand’s struggling economy is facing another major threat amid the rapidly spreading omicron coronavirus variant, with holiday spending expected to drop to a 12-year low.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said fear about another coronavirus lockdown spurred by omicron’s spread is making people frugal during the usually brisk New Year’s shopping season.

From a survey of 1,244 people, the UTCC extrapolated that the country’s cash flow to be around 85.8 billion baht. Average per-person spending is expected to be 3,300 baht, which is lower than last year’s figure at 5,900 baht.

The center also projects lower spending on religious activities, while the tourism sector is likely to take another hit from mass cancellations, with average per-person tourism spending at the all-time low of 5,440 baht.

UTCC President Thanawat Polvichai said fears over the omicron variant leading to another lockdown and more job losses are expected to wipe 30-50 billion baht from holiday-season spending.

Additionally, this figure could slide by 5-10 billion baht due to possible nationwide cancellations of New Year events.