Thailand: Zika to not heavily impact tourism industry hinh anh 1A worker fumigates an area in Bangkok (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The confirmation of two Zika-linked microcephaly cases in Thailand is not likely to scare off large numbers of Chinese tourists due to jet in for holidays next week, industry operators said.

Thailand expects 220,000 Chinese visitors during China's "Golden Week" break, which starts on October 1, up about 30 percent from last year, said Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

With confidence in Thailand's public health system, Yuthasak said the number of Chinese tourists coming to his country should be on target.

Roong Mallikamas, head of the macroeconomics and monetary policy department at the Bank of Thailand, said Zika will not have a big impact on tourism because it is not as serious as other diseases previously seen in the region, such as a deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

Zika has spread extensively in Latin American and the Caribbean over the past year, and more recently it has been cropping up in Southeast Asia.

Thailand has confirmed 349 Zika cases since January, including 33 pregnant women. It reported on September 30 the first confirmed cases of microcephaly in Southeast Asia.

The tourism industry accounts for about 10 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product. The country expects a record 33 million visitors this year, driven mostly by an increase in Chinese numbers.-VNA