BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand expects tourism to exceed its targets, with more than 30 million arrivals this year, despite a bomb blast that killed 14 foreigners last month in Bangkok, the prime minister said on Friday.
The country’s worst-ever bombing put pressure on revenues vital to the military government’s moves to resuscitate a struggling economy. Tourism - worth about 10 percent of gross domestic product - has been its only bright spot.
Average daily arrivals to Thailand fell from 85,000 before the Aug. 17 attack to 70,000 after the blast, according to the tourism ministry.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports have reported some impact at the beginning and that things are now getting better,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said in his weekly televised address.
Arrivals in the remaining four months of this year were forecast to reach 10 million, after more than 20 million visitors in the first eight months, Prayuth said.
The government had targeted 28.8 million arrivals and 2.2 trillion baht ($61.82 billion) in revenue this year from tourism, which has become crucial as Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy stutters amid weak exports, manufacturing and retail spending.
Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap and Orathai Sriring; Editing by Larry King