March 6, 2017 / 10:55 AM / 3 years ago

Thailand to spend $11.6 billion on airport expansion over next 10 years

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s military government plans to spend about 406 billion baht ($11.59 billion) on airport development nationwide over the next 10 years to handle increasing passengers, a senior official said on Monday.

The plan, aimed at making Thailand a regional aviation hub, would enable Thailand to receive 277 million passengers a year over the next decade from about 130 million currently, Kobsak Pootrakul, vice minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, told reporters.

The junta has ramped up investment in a bid to spur growth in Southeast Asia’s second’s largest economy, which has lagged regional peers since the army sized power in May 2014.

Tourism receipts account for about 10 percent of Thailand’s economic output and have been a rare bright spot.

The number of foreign tourists was a record 32.6 million last year and the government is expecting 34-35 million travelers this year.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Nick Macfie

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