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Thailand’s outbound tourism soars with Bt62 billion spending

Around 2.3 million Thais will leave the country for foreign holidays this year, draining Bt62 billion…

Around 2.3 million Thais will leave the country for foreign holidays this year, draining Bt62 billion from the nation`s economy, according to a new report from a leading research centre.

The report from the KASIKORN Research Centre said that the outbound tourism market, which picked up at the end of last year, was continuing to enjoy steady growth, with 612,192 Thais leaving the country during the first quarter of 2004, up 13 percen from the same period in 2003.

The research centre attributed the rise in outbound tourism to the Euro 2004 football tournament, increasing competition among foreign tourism markets, the expansion of aviation routes and the birth of low-cost airlines.

Estimating that 600,000 Thais would leave the country during the second quarter of 2004, the research centre noted that this represented a 44 percent rise on the same period the previous year.

Overall, the report said, around 2.45 million Thais were set to travel abroad this year, up 14 percent on figures from 2003. Of these, 2.3 million were tourists, while the rest were Thais going to work abroad.

The research centre estimated that outbound tourism would cost the nation around Bt62 billion this year, a rise of 11 percent. The most popular destinations remained Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

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