Eatery registrations robust

The restaurant business remained among the three most popular sectors in terms of new registrations, according to the Business Development Department. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Restaurant, food and tourism-related businesses are slowly recovering thanks to the country’s reopening to international tourists and increased arrivals, reflected in the latest new business registration figures released by the Commerce Ministry.

Jitakorn Wongkhatekorn, deputy director-general of the Business Development Department, reported on Wednesday the number of new business registrations in May rose by 6% year-on-year to 5,917, with new capital up by 30% to 14.3 billion baht.

Restaurants remained among the top three sectors for registrations for the fourth straight month, behind general building construction in first place and real estate in second.

New eatery registrations stood at 225 in May, behind general building construction (543) and real estate (382).

According to the Thai Restaurant Association, eateries generate about 400 billion baht a year for the Thai economy and contribute about 20% to the tourism sector.

Restaurants were stung during the pandemic as many small-scale operators threw in the towel and returned to their hometowns, notably in the northeastern and southern regions.

In the first five months of 2022, the total number of new registrations decreased by 4% to 33,640 compared with the same period last year.

Mr Jitakorn said the prospects for new business registrations during the remaining months of this year are expected to recover, especially for activities related to tourism such as hotels, trading, restaurants, tour and travel businesses as well as entertainment. International arrival numbers are expected to rise following the country’s reopening.

In addition, he said the government’s policy to promote domestic tourism through the extension of the “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy scheme and healthy export-related businesses should help boost the tourism sector.

Mr Jitakorn said alternative energy businesses such as solar, water and wind power offer good prospects in Thailand as a result of environmental concerns.

“Nevertheless, rising oil prices, the end of the subsidy for cooking gas, the rise of the fuel tariff value, and persistent Covid-19 infections remain key areas of concern for businesses,” he said.

The department forecast new registrations of 40,000–42,000 in the first half of the year, with figures for the whole year expected to reach 70,000-75,000, in line with expectations of an economic recovery.

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