Even during ‘low season’, Thailand hits record number of visitors
THAILAND received a whopping 3.13 million tourists in the month of August alone, a record for the low season month, Reuters reported.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy heavily depends on tourism, a hope for the national economy amid the strong baht.
The report said that August arrivals were 8.66 percent above a year earlier and marked the first time visitors during that month surpassed the three million mark.
In revenue, visitors in August generated THB163 billion (US$4.93 billion), up 11.7 percent from the year earlier, Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the tourism and sports ministry, said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“The August number is considered very high as it’s the low season,” he said.
The baht’s strength has risen by about 8.2 percent against the dollar this year, but it’s not yet affected the kingdom’s tourism industry.
“The baht is not yet an obstacle to tourism, unless it gets stronger,” Svetarundra said, adding that he hopes the central bank will keep the currency from appreciating further.
A representative from the Association of Thai Travel Agents urged the central bank to cut its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to help hold down the baht and lower costs for the tourist industry amid increasing competition.
Additional reporting by Reuters