Thailand’s tourism industry, which is believed to make up 10 percent of the national economy, was dealt a heavy blow in 2014 when there was a drop in the number of tourists visiting the country.

Only 24.7 million tourists visited the Kingdom in 2014, down 6.6 percent against 2013, with tourists from the ASEAN countries accounting for 26.7 percent or 6.6 million.

Pongsathorn Kessamli, Deputy Head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, cited the decline in Western tourists and the unimpressive figures from the ASEAN countries as key reasons behind the drop.

Kessamli said he expected a slight increase in the number of tourists from the European Union and the United States in 2015 and that would focus on drawing tourists from neighbouring countries.

Thailand plans to lure 27.8 million tourists in 2015. Of whom, 8.8 million are from the ASEAN countries, up 13 percent in numbers and 16 percent in revenue, he said.-VNA