July 29, 2020 / 2:51 AM / 17 days ago

Thai tourist arrivals slump 66% year-on-year in January-June amid pandemic

FILE PHOTO: People are seen at a beach after the government eased some protective measures following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hua Hin, Thailand June 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand recorded no foreign tourist arrivals and spending for a third straight month in June, as borders remained closed amid the pandemic, with a 66% year-on-year drop in the January-June period to 6.69 million visitors, tourism ministry data showed.

In January-June, spending by foreign tourists was 332 billion baht ($10.54 billion), down 65% from a year earlier.

The tourism-reliant country, which had a record 39.8 million tourist arrivals last year, imposed a ban on incoming passenger flights in April, when it first recorded zero foreign visitors.

In June 2019 alone, there were 3.05 million foreign tourists who spent about 131 billion baht ($4.14 billion).

Thailand will extend a state of emergency until the end of August to control the coronavirus outbreak, although there has been no local virus transmission recorded for more than two months.

The central bank has forecast the number of foreign tourists will plunge 80% this year to 8 million. Last year, spending by foreign visitors accounted for 11.4% of gross domestic product.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Ed Davies

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