Tourism stabilizes in Thailand after tsunami

Thailand is confident of receiving a record number of tourists this year, with business returning to normal in resort areas devastated by last year's tsunami, an official said Wednesday.

"The next few months will be our high season," said Phornsiri Manoharn, the Tourism Authority of Thailand's deputy governor for international marketing. Thailand had 11.65 million foreign visitors in 2004, up 11.5 percent from the previous year. But, she said, the tsunami in late December "significantly hurt tourism" for the first few months of 2005, especially in the Andaman Sea resorts that include Phuket, one of the worst hit areas.

However, she said arrival figures have picked up in recent months. International visitors at the Bangkok International Airport alone totaled 5.4 million visitors between January and August, up 2.9 percent compared to the same period last year, reports the AP.

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