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|Visitors at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: AFP/VNA)|
Bangkok – Thai authorities said on October 2 that the country will begin reopening its borders to outsiders and kick-start the tourism industry plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic with a flight from China this month.
The scheme has been designed to forestall any risk of importing new cases, with only visitors from countries deemed low risk allowed to enter Thailand and all new arrivals required to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.
According to a Tourism Authority of Thailand spokeswoman, the first arrivals will be a group of 150 Chinese tourists, with local media reporting that their flight would land on the resort island of Phuket next week.
If there are no problems with the first group, two more flights – one carrying Chinese passengers and another with European travellers – are booked to follow.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters this week that only a limited number of visitors would be allowed into Thailand, and that they would be monitored through wristbands and mobile phone apps.
Thailand’s economy is highly dependent on foreign visitors but the country is expecting a fraction of the nearly 40 million international arrivals it recorded last year, after the pandemic brought global air travel to a near standstill.