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Thailand tourist arrivals in July up nearly 40% on year

[BANGKOK] Thai tourist arrivals in July rose nearly 40 per cent on the year, the tourism minister said on Wednesday, as the industry continued to bounce back from a sharp fall in 2014 during months of street protests and a military coup.

Tourism is one of the few bright spots in an economy that continues to underperform more than a year after the military seized power in May 2014.

The sector accounts for about 10 per cent of Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, and the government expects a record number of visitors in 2015.

Thailand received 2.64 million visitors in July, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told reporters, an increase of 38 percent on the year.

The total number of visitors in the first seven months of 2015 stood at 17.5 million, up 31.6 per cent on the year. Tourism revenue was 818.4 billion baht (S$32.3 billion), up 30.6 per cent on the year, according to statistics compiled by the ministry provided to Reuters.

The government expects a record 30 million tourists this year, generating around 2.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue. The high season is in the second half of the year.

The majority of tourists in Thailand are from China. Malaysia and Japan also rank among the biggest sources of visitors in 2015, the ministry says.

REUTERS