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Thailand hopes to reach a 'travel bubble' with China before January next year to boost tourism

Date: 2020-10-18

Before the new crown epidemic, more than a quarter of tourists arriving in Thailand were Chinese tourists.

According to a Bloomberg report on October 16, Thailand is negotiating with China to establish a travel route that does not require quarantine no later than January to save the country's troubled tourism industry.

Thailand’s Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn stated that the agreement with China will depend on the success of the limited reopening of Thailand’s tourism industry to foreign tourists this month. He said that China will become the first low-risk country to participate in Thailand's isolation-free travel. Before the new crown epidemic, more than a quarter of tourists arriving in Thailand were Chinese tourists.

According to official data, about 11 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in 2019, bringing about 17 billion U.S. dollars to the country.

The minister said that the first batch of Chinese tourists from a previously announced long-term tourist visa program will arrive in Bangkok on October 20. The government plans to issue approximately 1,200 visas per month under the plan to help the tourism industry, which has been struggling with no foreign tourists entering the country for five consecutive months.

On October 15, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth met in Bangkok with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is paying an official visit to Thailand. The two sides agreed to establish a "fast channel" for personnel exchanges and a "green channel" for material circulation.