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Thailand’s Tourism Ministry Reports Rise of Foreign Tourists in August

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Tourism ministry has reported tourist number rose 5.59 per cent in August from a year earlier. With Chinese visitor numbers rebounding strongly, the tourism ministry said Tuesday (Sep 10).

The 3.41 million foreign tourist arrivals in August spent 170 billion baht (US$5.55 billion); up 7.12 per cent year-on-year, the ministry said in a statement after a Cabinet meeting.

The number of Chinese tourists, Thailand’s biggest source of visitors; jumped 15.6 per cent in August from a year earlier to 1 million; after increasing 5.81 per cent in July following five months of declines.

In the January-August period, the number of foreign tourists rose 2.6 per cent year-on-year to 26.5 million.

The government believes the number of foreign tourists will reach its target of a record 40 million this year.

Last year, there were 38.3 million foreign tourist arrivals, a lower number than predicted. A boat disaster that killed 47 Chinese tourists was blamed for a fall in the numbers from China.

Tourism is a major driver of Thai growth, with foreign tourist receipts accounting for 12% of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Tourism has decided to delay plans to collect a tourism levy from foreign visitors.

Thailand’s tourism secretary Chote Trachu said the levy could result in psychological deterrence among foreign visitors. Bringing further harm to the already struggling tourism industry.

In May, Mr Chote announced that the Tourism Ministry was studying the idea of collecting a levy from foreigners. The ministry intend to use the generated income to rehabilitate natural tourist destinations.

He hinted that the tax amount would be minimal and not affect tourists coming to Thailand.