Thai tourism headed for a bumper 2000
BANGKOK (AFP): Tourist arrivals into Thailand are heading for a bumper year in 2000 after more than 6.9 million visitors were recorded in the first nine months, up 11.3 percent from last year, officials said today. “International visitor arrivals to Thailand totaled 6,942,220 in January-September 2000,” said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in a statement. At that rate, Thailand was on track to end the year with more than 9 million visitors, well above earlier targets, the TAT said. The numbers also show the Asia-Pacific travel industry is recovering strongly from the economic crisis, as arrivals to Thailand from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan were growing, it said. During the peak of the Asian financial crisis, Thailand had begun to depend on tourist traffic from Europe and North America as arrivals from other Asian states slumped. “Total growth from ASEAN countries was up 8.9 percent, and from the entire East Asian region, 11.66 percent” thus far in 2000, the TAT said. Asian travellers also spent the most money in Thailand, with Singaporeans topping the list by shelling out average daily expenditure of 4,588 baht (112 dollars) per person this year. The swelling arrival figures will help the TAT meet its goal of doubling the number of tourists arriving in the kingdom over the next decade to 22.5 million, under a master plan approved by the Thai cabinet. Thailand is aiming to attract 16 million international tourists annually in the next five years, generating revenue of 538.6 billion baht (10 billion dollars). The TAT also is trying to expand the number of tourist-focused towns in the country from 10 to 15.
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