The number of tourist arrivals to Thailand during the first seven months of this year grew unexpectedly at 20.37 percent with a total of 14.96 million visitors, a Tourism and Sports Ministry report said.

There were 2.2 million tourists entering Thailand, a year-on-year increase of 400,000 people, or 22.47 percent, indicating the local tourism sector’s strong growth.

Thailand’s top 10 foreign visitors markets are China, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Australia, and Germany.

Factors attracting foreign visitors to the country included the popularity of tourist destinations and the variety of Thai tourism products.

However, there are still problems affecting tourism related to the shortage of tour guides, scams and crimes.

Thailand is performing above average in comparison to other countries around the world, given that global tourism growth is projected to stand at 3 to 4 percent in 2013.

During the seven months, a total of 4.7 million Thais travelled overseas, up 7.10 percent from 2012. The top destinations for Thai tourists are countries in Southeast Asia.-VNA