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Thailand plans to strengthens its tourism industry even more

Staff writer |
Thailand hopes to attract a more well-heeled kind of traveller in the future, its tourism minister said, as the kingdom announced record arrivals for 2015.

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The vital tourism industry remains one of the few economic bright spots following a year in which the junta-led government has struggled to kickstart the kingdom's stumbling economy.

By the end of the year, Thailand will have received more than 29.6 million foreign visitors, Minister for Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told reporters.

"Our goal is to focus on quality and how to make tourists stay longer and spend more money," Kobkarn said, adding officials would target women, luxury holiday makers and sports tourism.

This year's tourist arrivals are a significant jump from the 24.8 million who visited in 2014 - when the country was wracked by months of debilitating street protests and a military coup - and 26.5 million in 2013.

"Revenue from the tourism industry accounted for 14.5 percent of our GDP," Kobkarn said.

Thailand's planning agency expects this year's growth to be between 2.7 and 3.2 percent, an improvement on last year's negligible expansion but still one of the poorest performing economies in Southeast Asia.


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