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TAT head blames STRONG BAHT for LOW tourist numbers

TAT head blames STRONG BAHT for LOW tourist numbers

The head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has blamed the high value of the Thai baht for worse than expected tourist figures in the country.

He has claimed that European visitors are being more careful over their money and that Thailand is looking to places like India to sustain growth.

And the Thai media has spoken of Brexit and US trade wars as contributing factors too.

TAT chief Yuthasak Suphasorn was speaking to Daily News as figures showed that tourist arrivals in the first half of the year were 20 million that was less than expected.

Though spending was 1,000 billion baht by foreign visitors and 560 billion domestically this was considered acceptable because of the current global economic outlook.

Yuthasak said that European tour companies had raised their prices anywhere between 10 and 20% meaning that many Europeans were looking to travel elsewhere for value.

And he admitted that those who are coming to Thailand are being more careful about their spending as they are receiving less baht for their money.

It was the first time that anyone at the TAT had mentioned the Thai baht was having such a big effect on the tourism industry.

Daily News mentioned Brexit and the US trade wars with countries such as China as responsible for affecting Thai tourism negatively.

Still Yuthasak said that even though there were fewer Europeans coming that shortfall would be made up by turning to India, South Asia in general and ASEAN countries.

The outlook remained positive in the future, he said, expecting tourism to generate 3,400 billion baht this year with 40-45 million visitors expected in 2019. This would compare favorably to 38.5 million last year.

He said that the current low season lull was normal – things would pick up in October when high season comes.

He pointed to an increase of 5% in visits to secondary Thai cities as a good sign.

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