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October tourism boosts economic activity in South

The South's economy brightened in October, thanks to improving tourism, says the Bank of Thailand (BOT).

Published on December 6, 2007

That region attracted 238,071 foreign visitors in October, up 14.3 per cent year on year. The number of tourists had declined 2 per cent year on year in September.

Arrivals were mostly in Phuket and Songkhla, where travellers, especially from Malaysia and Singapore, went to celebrate Chinese and Islamic festivals.

October arrival numbers in Phuket and Songkhla jumped 19.5 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively, said the BOT. And campaigns for the Andaman Coast could attract more Asian travellers yet, it said. Weekly flights by Dutch-based Martinair helped boost numbers, too.

The region was affected in October last year by a series of bombings in Songkhla and the September coup.

Recovering tourism, along with rising rubber prices, helped boost private consumption in the South. As a result, newly registered passenger cars in the region escalated 22.5 per cent.

Collection of value-added tax jumped 7.4 per cent in October. Household consumption of electricity increased 7.4 per cent.

However, newly registered personal pickups and motorcycles declined 12.6 and 29.6 per cent, respectively.

"Tourism expanded, causing consumer spending to rise," the bank report said.

In addition, investment picked up during the month, when six projects worth Bt3.4 billion received Board of Invest-ment incentives. Four projects are located in the upper region, and two are in Trang.

Commercial-bank loans in the region rose 11.4 per cent year on year to Bt323.5 billion, mostly in the upper part of the region. Banks continue to be stricter with loan approvals, the report said.

Outstanding deposits at commercial banks totalled Bt397 billion in October, up 7.6 per cent year on year.

 Anoma Srisukkasem

 The Nation


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