Thailand expects one million fewer tourists this year: Govt

Thailand expects around 25 million tourists this year, down one million from 2013, the government said on Wednesday, thanks in part to months of street protests in the capital which ended with a coup. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Thailand expects around 25 million tourists this year, down one million from 2013, the government said on Wednesday, thanks in part to months of street protests in the capital which ended with a coup. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand expects around 25 million tourists this year, down one million from 2013, the government said on Wednesday, thanks in part to months of street protests in the capital which ended with a coup.

Two unsolved murders of two young British tourists on the island of Koh Tao in September also kept visitors away.

Thailand is still under martial law after the May 22 coup, but Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said there was a 6 per cent increase in hotel reservations for December compared with last year.

The industry has yet to recover from a slump in visitors due to months of sometimes violent street protests that left nearly 30 people dead. The number of tourist arrivals between January to September fell 10.3 per cent from a year earlier to 17.5 million visitors.

Thailand's tourist industry accounts for nearly 10 per cent of gross domestic product.