Economic development in Thailand has been increasing rapidly over the past 40 years. Poverty has declined considerably from 67 percent in 1986 to just 7.2 percent in 2015. The rate of economic recovery and the reignition of growth will both depend on how fast Thailand can address structural constraints. To this end, there is hope since, according to the World Bank, there are many opportunities available to help with development in Thailand and to help the many people in the country.
There are a variety of options that can help with development in Thailand such as improving the business environment, expanding trade through better integration with the global economy, implementing public investments to private capital, stimulating domestic consumption and improving the quality of public services across the country. Beginning in 2017, in order to be recognized as a developed country, Thailand set long-term economic goals that address many key issues in the country. The Minister of Transport in Thailand, Prajin Juntong, has created five development projects in to help boost the infrastructure sector and encourage growth and prosperity for the Southeast Asian country:
- Project one: Developing urban connection, which includes buses, sky trains, metros and taxis, to help improve connectivity between different parts of Bangkok and enhance travel for passengers. Advancing these forms of transportation will also promote the use of public transportation as opposed to private cars.
- Project two: Connecting railway tracks between cities within Thailand and with neighboring countries. The current railway system is a one-meter single track system but a one-meter dual-track system will be installed in its place. This will help ensure a timely and safe delivery of passengers and goods around the country. The targeted distance for this expansion is 3,000 kilometers or about 1,864 miles.
- Project three: Upgrading airports to accommodate the extra five million passengers at the Suvarnabhumi airport, Don Mueang airport and the Royal Thai Navy’s Utapao airport, all of which are international airports. Parts of this project include adding additional terminals and parking spots to airports and constructing extra runways. Smaller, more domestic airports like the one in Phuket will also receive upgrades so that there can be a high functioning airport available to take in the many travelers to the highly popular island.
- Project four: Expanding seaports in the southern part of Thailand, to and from the Andaman Sea, to expand trade between Europe and Asia. The main part of this project is a venture called the Dawei project, an international joint expansion project of seaports with Myanmar. Domestic ports like The Songkhla seaport and Chumporn seaport will be upgraded in the future and another new port, Pak Bala, will be built.
- Project five: Expanding roads and highways to increase public convenience and accommodate the increasing population. This project aims to connect people to newer economic zones. Recently, 12 of these economic zones have been added in Thailand so it is important that cities are connected to each other and economic areas are connected to neighboring countries.
Thailand’s economy is expected to develop further in 2018, with an increase of around 3.6 percent. Even faster growth may be possible in the long run with the inclusion of public infrastructure management. When these five development projects in Thailand are carried-out more opportunities will develop and economic growth will increase.