Thailand welcomes a record 38.27 million tourists in 2018

People have fun on a beach during sunset at Ko Kut island in Trat Province, Thailand October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand saw a record 38.27 million tourists in 2018, up 7.5 percent from the previous year, the Tourism Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry expects the number of tourists visiting the country this year to increase by 7.5.

Thailand’s December tourist arrivals were 3.85 million, the ministry said in a statement.

For 2019, the ministry expects 41.1 million tourists to spend 2.21 trillion baht ($70.18 billion). The number of visitors from China - Thailand’s biggest source of tourists - is projected to rise 11 percent to 11.69 million, it said.

Foreign tourist receipts account for about 12 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

($1 = 31.49 baht)

Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Shreejay Sinha