For decades, Baan Tawai has thrived, with multiple generations of villagers having exported handicraft and design products to countries around the world.
Today, CityNews learned that over 400 businesses in Ban Tawai, of an estimated 1,000-1,100, have now closed their doors – whether permanently or not.
According to Wasan Dechakan, President of the Baan Tawai Handicraft Business Association, the annual income of Baan Tawai’s businesses combine to around one billion baht per year. This past year this number has dropped to 300-400 million, down over 60%.
“Many businesses are still managing rather well,” Wasan told CityNews, “mainly due to online sales and prior relationships with customers. However, we have all been affected badly. Foot traffic is also down by over 90%, which has had a dramatic effect on the entire community.”
“However, Baan Tawai has been selected as one of 41 communities in Thailand that has received a government grant to teach members how to trade online, an invaluable channel for survival in these times.”
Wasan hopes that this new knowledge and expertise with selling on line can be taken further once normalcy resumes, even perhaps ushering in a new era for Baan Tawai.
“Like many businesses, you can look at this crisis as a filtering process which will make businesse step up and become more competitive. The many businesses which have been open to adapt and learn are still surviving, those who have not taken things seriously have not.”