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[BANGKOK] International tourist arrivals in Thailand rose 15 per cent in January from a year earlier, government data showed, as the industry continued to expand in a sluggish domestic economy.
Tourism accounts for about 10 per cent of Thailand's gross domestic product.
The growing number of visitors has been one of the few bright spots for Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, which has struggled to find a firm footing since prolonged street protests took the country to the brink of recession in 2014.
Thailand grew 2.8 per cent in 2015, up from 0.8 per cent in 2014, but slower than the growth rate of its neighbours.
The number of visitors recorded in January 2016 alone was three million; travellers from China topped the list, with over 800,000 Chinese arrivals in January. That was up over 250,000 on the year.
Malaysia and South Korea are the second and third largest source countries for tourists to Thailand.
The government has forecast a record 32 million arrivals this year, up 7.1 per cent from last year's 29.88 million.
It aims for overall revenue from tourism of 2.4 trillion baht (S$94.11 billion), up 9.1 per cent from last year.