Thailand welcomes first group of Chinese tourists post reopening

By Hoang Vu   January 9, 2023 | 11:30 pm PT
Thailand welcomes first group of Chinese tourists post reopening
Passengers from China's Xiamen arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand, January 9, 2023. Photo by Reuters
The first group of 269 Chinese tourists flying from China's Xiamen City landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday, marking the return of the world's largest outbound tourism market after a three year hiatus.

The Chinese tourists were greeted upon arrival in Thailand with flowers and gift bags presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and other senior officials, the Bangkok Post reported.

The Chinese visitors arrived just one day after China officially reopened its border after being closed for three years as part of the government's strict zero-Covid policy.

Also on Monday, Thailand withdrew a policy it had announced over the weekend requiring visitors to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before boarding their flights to Thailand.

According to statistics from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chinese travelers accounted for one-fourth of the total international inbound tourists to Thailand before the Covid pandemic. The government expects to welcome 300,000 Chinese tourists in the first three months of this year.

Thailand welcomed more than 11 million Chinese visitors in 2019 alone, generating 500 billion baht ($14.95 billion) in tourism revenue.

Southeast Asia's second largest economy removed all Covid restrictions last year, including test and health insurance requirements.

The country managed to receive 11 million foreign visitors during 2022, making it one of the best performers in Southeast Asia.

Thailand is targeting 25 million foreign visitors this year, including five million from China.

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