SEVENTEEN new suspected cholera cases emerged yesterday, 16 of them holiday-makers who toured the floating market of Bangkok this month. The 17th case was found late last night. The 26-year-old woman, who had not been out of Hong Kong recently, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. If confirmed, the new cases will bring to 37 the number of cholera patients this year, compared to 14 for the whole of last year. Travel chiefs immediately flew to Bangkok to urge Thai authorities to improve hygiene standards and inspections. The group of 16 suspected sufferers were among 64 people on two tours led by Hong Thai Citizens Travel Services to Thailand last week. It was unclear how many members of the tour groups were yet to be tested. All 16 patients were admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday. They joined three fellow tour members confirmed as having cholera, and a 46-year-old man who caught the disease locally. Princess Margaret Hospital consultant physician Thomas Lai Sik-to warned more cases could surface among the victims' families. 'Whether or not their families and friends would be affected depends on the hygiene of individual patients,' he said. The hospital has opened 54 beds for adults and 44 for children in its infectious disease ward to meet an expected rise in the number of cholera cases. The conditions of the 16 Princess Margaret patients, aged 18 to 48, ranged from satisfactory to stable. Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said: 'Thailand needs to improve hygienic standards if it wants to maintain itself as a popular destination for Hong Kong tourists.' A branch agent for Hong Thai said daily tours to Thailand would continue - but he encouraged travellers to buy extra medical insurance. More than 500,000 SAR residents visited the country for business and vacation last year.