June 12, 2017 / 6:59 AM / in 4 months

Thailand's May tourist arrivals up 4.6 pct y/y - ministry

BANGKOK, June 12 (Reuters) - International tourist arrivals in Thailand rose 4.6 percent in May from a year earlier, with revenues up 6.9 percent, but a strong baht could impact the lucrative industry, the tourism and sports ministry said on Monday.

The number of foreign tourists stood at 2.59 million in May, led by visitors from China, Malaysia, India, Russia and the United States, generating revenue of 125 billion baht ($3.67 billion), Pongpanu Svetarundra, the ministry’s permanent-secretary, said in a statement.

In the January-May period, tourist numbers rose 3.2 percent to 14.61 million, with revenue up 5.1 percent to 747 billion baht, the ministry said.

The strengthening of the baht against currencies in Thailand’s tourist markets, such as the dollar, the pound and the euro, might affect visitors’ spending and their travel decisions to Thailand, Pongpanu said.

But a stronger rouble against the baht has helped lift arrivals from Russia, he added.

Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Thailand’s economy, and has been a rare bright spot for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, whose growth has lagged regional peers in recent years. ($1 = 34.02 baht) (Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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