BANGKOK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - International tourist arrivals in Thailand rose 10.87 percent in January from a year earlier, led by visitors from China, Malaysia, Russia and South Korea, the government said on Wednesday.
The 3.54 million foreign tourists who arrived in January spent 189 billion baht ($6.00 billion), Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent-secretary of the tourism and sports ministry, said in a statement.
Tourism receipts account for about 12 percent of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, making it one of the most important drivers of Thailand’s growth.
The ministry expects 37.55 million visitors to spend 2.1 trillion baht this year, after welcoming a record 35.38 million foreign tourists last year. ($1 = 31.5200 baht)
Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Sunil Nair