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Coronavirus hits tourism-reliant Thailand

Tourism is a key driver of growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, and Chinese tourists are Thailand’s biggest source of visitors accounting for 28% of all tourists to Thailand

Boris Sullivan

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Chinese tourists in Pattaya

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) dropped beneath 1,400 point in morning trading on Wednesday (February 26) amid concerns over the COVID-19 virus, and closed at 1366.

Thailand’s equity benchmark index tumbled to its lowest threshold in more than three years, falling at 1366, well below the 1,400 point mark as the rising number (three new cases) of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country shrank investment appetite.

The baht continued to weaken, trading at 31.84 to the US dollar in today evening trade, amid concerns over the coronavirus spreading outside China.

Tourism is a key driver of Thai growth and a bright spot in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy and Chinese tourists are Thailand’s biggest source of visitors.

With Chinese making up 28% of all tourists to Thailand, the travel sector is most likely to be hit hardest from the outbreak. Thai exports to China, which account for more than 5% of Thai GDP, are also set to fall.

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