Thailand sees record number of visitors in 2011

BANGKOK (AP) — Officials say record numbers of foreign visitors flocked to Thailand in 2011 despite the country’s worst flooding in half a century.

Tourism ministry spokesman Vachara Kannikar said Thursday that more than 19 million people visited Thailand last year, a significant jump from about 16 million a year earlier.

He said flooding in parts of Bangkok and elsewhere caused a dip in arrivals in November and December but only marginally affected the ministry’s original target of 19.5 million international visitors.

The ministry attributed last year’s jump to an increase in tourists from Asia.

The largest numbers of overseas visitors came from Malaysia, China, Russia, Australia and Japan.