• ‘Tourism unaffected by Bangkok bombing’

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    VISITORS RETURNING?  People hold a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the people who died at Erawan shrine - the popular tourist site where 20 people were killed on August 17 - marking one week since the attack in central Bangkok on August 24, 2015. Thailand’s junta has said the attack has not seriously affected tourism to the country. AFP PHOTO

    VISITORS RETURNING?
    People hold a candlelight vigil to pay their respects to the people who died at Erawan shrine – the popular tourist site where 20 people were killed on August 17 – marking one week since the attack in central Bangkok on August 24, 2015. Thailand’s junta has said the attack has not seriously affected tourism to the country. AFP PHOTO

    BANGKOK: Thailand’s junta Tuesday insisted the crucial tourist industry has been unaffected by last week’s bomb attack which killed 20 people, mostly foreigners, saying visitor numbers remained “at a normal level.”

    The bombing at the Bangkok’s Erawan shrine was Thailand’s worst single mass-casualty attack.

    But the trail is growing increasingly cold as police scramble to locate a prime suspect captured on CCTV leaving a bag moments before the blast.

    The majority of those killed were ethnic Chinese worshippers from across Asia, who flocked to the shrine in large numbers despite it being devoted to the Hindu god Brahma in the belief that prayers there bring good fortune.

    The attack, the first of its kind to kill large numbers of visitors to Thailand, has damaged its reputation as a welcoming and safe travel destination

    But the military government has been at pains to play down any suggestion visitors might be put off from visiting.

    “The number of tourists in prominent tourist attractions both in Bangkok and other provinces is still high,” Colonel Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for the junta, said Tuesday in a daily broadcast, without giving any numbers.

    “The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has further reported that the statistics of foreign tourists traveling into Thailand is at the normal level,” he added.

    AFP

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