Tourist figures up by 10.7pc

BANGKOK, (AFP): International tourist arrivals to Thailand grew 10.7% last year, to 9.57 million, according to figures released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Although the average length of stay decreased slightly, to 7.7 days, tourist spending in Thailand was up, at 3,850 baht a day. The TAT estimates that tourism generated revenue of 292.6 billion baht in 2000, up 15.6% on the previous year. Overseas trips by Thais rose to 1.9 million in 2000, 15.4% up on 1999, and they spent a total of 82 billion baht, a 17.7% increase over the previous year, the TAT said. Thailand still enjoyed a surplus from tourism of 210.6 billion baht, an increase of 14.9%. The TAT forecasts that the Thai tourism industry will grow again, by around 10%, in 2001, with the number of tourists rising to 10.45 million and revenue of about 334 billion baht. Tourists from East Asia were Thailand’s main market, with 5.5 million arrivals accounting for 57.9% of the total for 2000, the TAT said. More than 1.2 million Japanese tourists visited Thailand, while Europeans, who represented 24% of arrivals, grew to 2.3 million. Tourists from the United States, Canada and Latin America increased by 11.4% to 663,276. East Asian and ASEAN countries were the main destinations for Thais, attracting 1.56 million, or 82.2% of Thai tourists. More than half a million Thais visited Malaysia while 234,482 Thais toured Singapore in 2000.

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