Thailand welcomes first batch of foreign tourists since pandemic from China

October 21, 2020

Thailand's first batch of tourists from China Tuesday evening arrived at Bangkok airport.

The first group of 41 tourists travelling on the Special Tourist Visa (STV) from Shanghai, was the first batch of tourists granted permission to land in Thailand since the COVID-19 pandemic.

No reporters or people unrelated to the arrival of the tourists, were allowed into the arrival premises of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Tuesday.

"The first group of Chinese tourists have arrived on Tuesday evening, but the Thai government had not organized any welcoming ceremony for the tourists," said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

"Instead the tourists had to fill up some forms and download the state-sponsored COVID-19 tracing platform, and whisked away into hotel quarantine sites."

A second group of 100 people from Guangzhou will fly in on Oct. 26 and another group will be flown in from Shanghai on Oct. 28.

"So until now, we have been quite successful in handling the arrival of Chinese tourists as both sides have been very cooperative in adhering to health control measures," said the TAT governor.

"We also have a few STV tourist groups flying in from Europe, but we are still working out which airports to land, as it may depend on where the tourists have booked their 14-day mandatory quarantine," said Yuthasak.

The new STV scheme allows a 90-day stay in Thailand that can be renewed twice, adding up to about nine months.

The scheme had been approved earlier by the Thai Cabinet in an attempt to salvage the Thai tourism industry, badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.