(Yicai Global) Aug. 21 -- Thailand has denied local media reports regarding a cut in visa costs for Chinese tourists after last month's shocking boat accident that claimed dozens of lives, mostly Chinese, near the popular holiday island of Phuket.
For now, Thailand is not going to attract tourists by reducing any fees, state-backed Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Punta Parnu, the deputy director of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The number of Chinese tourists to the Southeast Asian nation has decreased since last month while that of foreign tourists has increased, Parnu said, adding that the reason is the accident. This is the first time the number of Chinese tourists to the country decreased since May last year.
On July 5, two ships with over one hundred tourists capsized nearby Phuket in a severe storm, while causing the death of 47 Chinese tourists on one of the ships called Phoenix.
Chinese visitors are the biggest contributor to Thailand's tourism as some 9.8 million Chinese citizens visited last year, or 28 percent of all foreign visitors, while spending THB520 billion (USD15.9 billion), according to the ministry's data.
The Thai government will enhance security measures to avoid such accidents so as to regain trust from Chinese tourists in Thailand's tourism security, Parnu added.
Editor: Emmi Laine