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The second group of Chinese tourists set to travel today to Thailand

26 Oct 2020

Under a special visa arrangement introduced by Thailand, the second group of Chinese visitors is expected to leave Guangzhou for Bangkok on Monday to help boost its tourism industry, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the group will travel under the special tourist visa (STV) scheme adopted by Bangkok after an earlier proposal to allow individuals to visit only specified destinations such as Phuket or Koh Samui was scrapped for fear of risks of infection. 

Around 100 visitors will travel to Bangkok on Monday, according to a report by CCTV, China's state broadcaster, where, like the group of 41 Chinese who arrived on Wednesday, they will be quarantined for 14 days in hotels.

They must take various Covid-19 tests and have special travel insurance during their stay in Thailand. They also need to download a contact tracing app that allows the authorities to keep track of their whereabouts. 

The STV allows tourists to stay in Thailand for up to nine months, unlike ordinary tourist visas.

The visits come as the Chinese tourism authorities expressed caution about the relaxing of controls on outbound tours, emphasizing the importance of preventing the spread of coronavirus through borders.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently said that its ban on outbound foreign group tours would be expanded. 

In recent months, China and Thailand have fared relatively well in containing the pandemic. The pandemic, first recorded in December in central China, has spread across the world and infected more than 41 million people.

The Governor of Thailand's Tourism Authority, Yuthasak Supasorn, said the Asian country was open to welcoming foreign travelers from low-risk countries. 

"We expect travelers from Scandinavia to come here in November during the winter season," he said. 

According to the International Monetary Fund, tourism accounts for around 18 percent of the Thai economy, which is expected to contract by more than 7 percent this year. 

In 2019, Thailand had around 40 million foreign visitors, generating 1.9 trillion baht (US$ 60.6 billion), but since April it has almost had none.

In 2019, two-way trade between China and Thailand totaled US$ 80 billion, according to China's Ministry of Commerce. Thailand was visited by more than 10 million Chinese visitors in 2018, accounting for about a quarter of all foreign arrivals. 


Source: South China Morning Post