BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin defended his frequent globe-trotting during his first 10 months as leader of the Southeast Asian nation, in remarks aired in a television broadcast on Saturday.

A real estate tycoon and political newcomer who became prime minister in August last year, Srettha made 15 overseas visits and pledged a two-month halt in March in response to public criticism.

"Some of these visits are not avoidable," he said, referring to those for official meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as to China and Japan, while a third was to Sri Lanka to sign a free trade pact.

Other visits aimed to draw trade and investment, said Srettha, nicknamed Thailand's salesman, who has often spoken of his goal of luring more foreign investment to the country.

"It's necessary to go," he said in the remarks recorded in advance.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Edited by Clarence Fernandez)