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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  8 January  2016  

Thailand expects record tourist arrivals in 2016

INTERNATIONAL tourist arrivals in Thailand are expected to reach a record high in 2016, the tourism minister said yesterday, after nearly 30 million foreigners came to its temples, beaches and bars in 2015.

Tourism boomed even after the deadliest attack on Thai soil in peacetime at a shrine in central Bangkok shook the country and as a high profile trial for the murder of two British backpackers sullied the industry’s reputation.

Tourism accounts for about 10 per cent of Thailand’s GDP and is one of the few bright spots for an economy that underperformed peers in Southeast Asia.

Visitors to Thailand should rise to 32 million in 2016, said Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, emphasising that it was not a target but an estimate. That would be more than seven per cent higher than the 29.88 million that visited in 2015.

The government is targeting revenue from tourism of 2.3 trillion baht (US$61.02 billion) in 2016, up from 2.21 trillion baht in 2015, she said.

Around 60 to 70 per cent of travelers are repeat visitors, she said.

The country providing the most tourists to Thailand was China, with around eight million in 2015. Malaysia came in a distant second with more than three million, and Japan, third with 1.4 million.

Thailand’s central bank predicts the economy will grow 3.5 per cent this year, due to government stimulus measures and tourism.

The August bomb attack in Bangkok killed 20 people including 14 foreigners, and injured more than 120 people.

On December 24, two Myanmar migrant workers were sentenced to death for the murder of two British tourists, whose bodies were found on a beach on the southern Thai holiday island of Koh Tao in 2014.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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