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Thailand will gradually open its borders to foreign tourists

Christian Fernsby |
Thailand will gradually open its borders to foreign tourists after the arrival of the first batch of Chinese tourists in the country on Tuesday.

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Topics: THAILAND   

The first groups may not be in large numbers, but their arrival will show the readiness of the public health system in Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said.

The first phase of reopening, the monthly figure is limited to 1,200 people, the governor said, adding that the number is a far cry from the monthly average of 3 million tourists before the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the plan to boost domestic tourism will continue, Yuthasak said.

"We already have 1.6 million room nights under the domestic 'We Travel Together' campaign," he said, adding that these bookings had distributed 4.7 billion baht (150.7 million U.S. dollars) to 4,367 participating hotels as of Oct. 15.

The governor said TAT will try to provide an easier method in order to stimulate bookings of a further 3.4 million available rooms by Jan. 31, 2021.

He admitted that imposing a 14-day quarantine on international travelers will only deter inbound tourism.

"The Ministry of Public Health is currently working on imposing just 10 days of quarantine if these foreign tourist arrivals don't lead to a second wave of infections in Thailand," Yuthasak said.

A group of 41 Chinese tourists from Shanghai travelling on the Special Tourist Visa (STV) is the first batch of visitors granted permission to land in Thailand since the coronavirus pandemic.

The second group of 100 people from south China's Guangzhou will fly in on Oct. 26 and another group will be flown in from Shanghai on Oct. 28.

The new STV scheme allows a 90 day stay in Thailand that can be renewed twice to up to about nine months. The scheme had been approved earlier by the Thai Cabinet in an attempt to salvage the country's tourism which is badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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