Airlines cleared to reinstate two China travel routes
Thailand is ready to welcome the return of Chinese tourists after Thai airlines were allowed to resume operating two flights between the countries each week for the first time since onset of the pandemic.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul on Sunday said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) had granted permission to the carriers to fly.
"The easing of travel restrictions in China is a good sign and will hopefully help the tourism sector rebound and generate revenue from the return of Chinese tourists,'' she said.
According to the CAAC, initial flights will be restricted to business people and students, but it is believed that Beijing will gradually reopen more international flights for the general population, Ms Traisuree said.
Following news of the CAAC's decision to reopen the routes, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced the carriers would take turns operating the flights, with the exception of those to Beijing and Shanghai.
Thai Airways International, Thai Smile Airways, Thai Lion Air and Thai Air Asia have all submitted requests to fly to Guangzhou, while Thai VietJet will fly to Kunming and Nok Air to Nanning.
Those allocations for August and October may yet be reconsidered.
Ms Traisuree also said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was delighted by the CAAT's decision to resume flights to China.
He said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was prepared to go full steam ahead in promoting tourism with almost all stringent restrictions to entry for foreigners to be scrapped this Friday, she said.
Despite a decline in cases in Thailand, the government has asked people to remain vigilant about Covid-19 risks in order to help boost confidence among tourists that the country is safe to visit, she added.