Tourist arrivals at record 22 million

Tourist arrivals at record 22 million

More than 22 million tourists visited Thailand last year, up nearly 16% year-on-year, setting a new record for the kingdom, according to figures released Monday.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports said 22.3 foreigners visited Thailand in 2012, with the Chinese (2.7 million) just topping Malaysians (2.5 million), followed by Russians (1.3 million), Japanese (1.3 million), Koreans (1.1 million), British (870,164) and Germans (681,566).

"Last year, the world was generally at peace and there were no major geopolitical, economic, environmental or natural disasters and no health pandemics,'' Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Suraphon Svetasreni said on Monday.

Last year was also relatively sedate for Thailand, which has witnessed political conflicts over the past six years resulting in street demonstrations in Bangkok and periodic heavy flooding.

Tourism is Thailand's leading source of foreign exchange.

The tourism authority projects there will be approximately 24.5 million tourists in 2013.

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