Thailand saw 3.78 million tourists from Jan to mid-Aug - govt

FILE PHOTO: Locals and tourists watch a sunset from Phuket Island's Phromthep Cape

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand saw 3.78 million tourist arrivals from January to Aug 17, a government official said on Friday.

The arrivals, mainly from Malaysia, India and Singapore, generated revenues of 176 billion baht ($4.93 billion), said Taweesin Visanuyothin, a spokesperson for the government's COVID-19 taskforce.

Thailand will extend the duration of its visa-on-arrival, which applies to nationals of India, China and Saudi Arabia, from 15 days to 30 days starting in October, said Taweesin. The measure is aimed at boosting the tourism sector as it recovers from a pandemic-induced slump.

Last year, the foreign arrivals plummeted to just 428,000 because of the pandemic, compared with a record of nearly 40 million in 2019, contributing to about 12% of GDP.

Southeast Asia's second-largest economy expects 8 million to 10 million arrivals this year, above an earlier forecast of 7 million, according to the Finance Ministry.

($1 = 35.7200 baht)

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat ; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)