UTCC expects subdued vegetarian festival this year


THE vegetarian festival observed by the Thai-Chinese community has always been a major drive in economic growth. However, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) is expecting this year’s festival not to be as lively as before due to economic strains from the Covid-19 pandemic, NNT said today (Oct. 2).

The UTCC’s Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting has just released the results of its survey on consumers’ spending behaviour for this year’s vegetarian festival, during which weaker economic activities can be expected.

The survey, conducted with 1,208 participants across the country, shows that only 39.1% of the respondents would be observing this tradition this time around, with 62.9% of these people intending to observe the vegetarian diet for the entire festival, which lasts from 6 October to 14 October.

Most people responded they would be making the same amount of spending for their grocery items, while some intended to leverage on the government’s aid campaigns, particularly the 50:50 co-pay campaign where up to half of their individual purchases could be subsidised.

Only 10.1% of the respondents said they intended to visit places of worship this year, mostly within Bangkok and neighbouring provinces.

The UTCC President Thanawat Polvichai said total spending from this year’s vegetarian festival is expected to be around 41.15 billion baht, which is 14.5% lower than last year’s figure at 46.98 billion.

This decrease in spending would be the first in 14 years since 2008.

The centre conducted another survey on the impacts of flooding in 36 provinces, with damages estimated at roughly 15.04 billion baht, or around 0.1-0.2% of the national growth domestic product (GDP).

The centre noted this year’s disaster has not turned out to be as devastating as the 2011 flood, where manufacturing and logistics were impaired.

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