Thailand’s tourism minister has blamed a surge in the baht for sapping tourist arrivals into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy and says he’ll take up the matter with the central bank, highlighting rising concern over the currency’s gains.
Arrivals have dropped because of the baht’s strength, Piphat Ratchakitprakarn, minister of tourism and sports, told reporters in Bangkok after he officially began his new role. Piphat said he’ll discuss with the Bank of Thailand and the finance minister what can be done to help support the industry.
“The strength of the baht is part of the reason why the number of tourists has dropped as those who come would get less money from their currencies to spend,” Piphat said on Thursday. “Tourism is considered to be one of our country’s main revenue drivers. I will do everything I can to make sure that arrivals increase and more revenue is generated than before.”
Piphat’s aim to boost the number of arrivals contrasts with the view from his predecessor, Weerasak Kowsurat, who said Thailand should care less about increasing of quantity of travelers and focus instead on improving sustainable tourism to mitigate environmental impacts caused by too many visitors.