Chinese official rules out return of China-Thailand tourism anytime soon

PHOTO: The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand - Coconuts

China is not yet ready to welcome international tourists, says a senior embassy official in Bangkok. Speaking to Nation Thailand, Yang Xin from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand, says that, while domestic tourism has resumed in China, the country is not yet ready to open its borders to foreign tourists, nor is it encouraging its own citizens to travel abroad. He adds that even if Chinese tourists did want to return to Thailand, the current border closures mean they are unable to do so.

In more normal times, China accounts for around 10 million of the nearly 40 million foreign visitors to the Kingdom each year (2019 figures from TAT). However, despite numerous discussions about a safe re-opening, with various plans being put on the table and taken back off it again, Thailand is also closed to foreign tourists for the foreseeable.

A plan to use Phuket as a pilot programme, allowing limited foreign tourists to return in a strictly controlled manner, actually looked like it might happen – until the discovery of Thailand’s first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in over 3 months. That plan too is also off the table, according to the Governor of the TAT.

Like Thailand, China is re-opening for foreign business travellers and a few other small categories. In China, those approved to travel do not have to carry out a 14 day quarantine, but are limited in where they can travel within the country. Yang says that China has now managed to bring the virus under control and schools have been re-opened after months of closure. He adds that the country has not set a target for economic growth this year, instead concentrating on the labour market and job creation, as well as improving living standards. Like Thailand, various stimulus packages are in place to help small to medium-sized businesses.

Asked about Hong Kong, he says the recent introduction of the national security law has stabilised the volatile political situation, claiming that, while China remains committed to the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, other nations that interfere “are trying to create a two-country system”.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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