Thailand's Sept tourist arrivals up 5.75 pct y/y - ministry

BANGKOK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - International tourist arrivals in Thailand rose 5.75 percent in September from a year earlier, led by visitors from East Asia, the government said on Tuesday.

Foreign arrivals were 2.56 million in September, Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent-secretary of the tourism and sports ministry, said in a statement.

For the January-September period, tourist arrivals were 26.1 million, up 5.4 percent from a year earlier. They generated revenue of 1.33 trillion baht ($40.22 billion) in the period, up 7.91 percent year-on-year.

The ministry has said a strong baht has not yet affected tourism. The currency has gained by 8.2 percent against the dollar this year, the most among Asian currencies.

The ministry, however, said last week that it expected 33-34 million foreign tourists this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 35 million.

In 2016, there were a record 32.6 million visitors.

Tourism accounts for 12 percent Thailand’s economy, and has been a bright spot for Southeast Asia’s second largest economy, whose growth still lags regional peers.

$1 = 33.07 baht Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu