Tourist numbers ‘normal’ after Bangkok bomb: Thailand

By Thanaporn Promyamyai ,AFP

BANGKOK — Thailand’s junta said Tuesday the crucial tourist industry has been unaffected by last week’s deadly bomb attack, as police quizzed a taxi driver believed to have picked up the main suspect. The bombing at Bangkok’s Erawan shrine killed 20 people including 14 foreigners and was Thailand’s worst single mass-casualty attack. But eight days on, the trail appears to have gone cold, with police so far failing to track down a prime suspect captured on security cameras leaving a bag moments before the blast. The majority of those killed were ethnic Chinese worshippers from across Asia, who flocked to the Hindu shrine in the belief that prayers there bring good fortune. The Aug. 17 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. Authorities have yet to make an arrest or say which group was behind the blast.