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Ayutthaya welcomes visitors after restrictions lift

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PHOTO: Bridget Folcik

Ayutthaya is welcoming visitors again after months of empty temple grounds as another set of restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing temples and historical sites to open back up. Thailand’s economy is dependant on tourism and officials hope to get at least some domestic trips up and running by June.

The Ayutthaya governor says the province is now safe from the coronavirus with no new infections in the past month, the Bangkok Post reports. Altogether, there were 8 coronavirus infections in the province. 1 person died. To prevent a second wave, visitors must abide by prevention practices such as wearing a face mask, using hand sanitiser, taking temperatures and social distancing. The Buddhist temples Wat Phanan Choeng and Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon had the most tourists over the weekend.

Thailand’s economy basically runs off tourism, but the closed borders and freeze on incoming international flights (excepting chartered repatriation flights) has caused a collapse of the tourism industry. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, TAT, expects the number of foreign tourists to fall by at least 65% this year. Most industry pundits are expecting it to be a lot higher.

President of the Tourism Council of Thailand told the Post that more than 3,000 tourism-related businesses submitted loan requests adding up to 12.7 billion baht, but only 36 cases worth 87.2 million baht have so far been approved. For now, the country is focusing on revamping domestic travel after the pandemic, starting a campaign called “We Love Thailand.” The TCT president says reopening sites and business for domestic tourists will give tourism operators a “lifeline”.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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