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Thailand sees 60% slump in January-May tourist arrivals, spending

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06/26/2020 | 01:11am EDT
FILE PHOTO: Empty chairs are seen on a beach which is usually full of tourists, amid fear of coronavirus in Phuket

Thailand recorded no foreign tourists for a second month in May as borders remained closed to control the coronavirus spread, with the 6.69 million visitors from January to May a slump of 60% from a year earlier, the tourism ministry said on Friday.

Spending by foreign tourists over the first five months was also down 60% to 332 billion baht ($10.75 billion).

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

In May alone last year, there were 2.73 million foreign tourists who spent 118 billion baht ($3.82 billion).

International passenger flights remain banned until the end of June and there are plans to allow some inbound foreign travellers starting next week.

Thailand has been 32 days without a domestic transmission of the virus and most of its patients have recovered.

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

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty)

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