Speedboats wait for tourists on Pattaya beach, Chon Buri. (Photo by Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Tourism officials are again proposing visa-free entry for Chinese citizens as part of a tourism revival scheme.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the number of international tourist arrivals during Feb 1-9 fell by 43.4% year-on-year to 730,213 as the number of Chinese tourists plunged 86.6%.
Mr Phiphat said the Chinese market is likely to drop by 90% in February. But if the virus containment is effective and the Chinese government lifts its travel ban before the end of March, there's a strong possibility that mainland tourists will return during Songkran in April, he said.
Mr Phiphat said visa-free entry for two major tourist markets, Chinese and Indians, is an essential measure that will ease congestion at crowded airports.
"We plan to resubmit the visa-free policy to the cabinet in April, as the exemption for 2,000-baht visa-on-arrival (VOA) fees will end on April 30, but on the condition that the Chinese authorities handle the outbreak first," he said.
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congestion : a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน
containment : the process of controlling a situation or substance that could become harmful or dangerous - การควบคุมไว้
essential : necessary - ที่จำเป็น
exemption : permission to not have to do something, such as making a payment, following a rule, etc. - ข้อยกเว้น
lift : to end a warning, a restriction, etc. - ยกเลิก
measure : a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
outbreak : the sudden start of a disease - การระบาดของโรค
plunge : to move or fall suddenly - ลงอย่างเร็ว, (อุณหภูมิ)