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From 40 million visitors to 41: first STV tourists arrive

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Nation Thailand

In 2019, almost 40 million tourists arrived in Thailand. Yesterday, it was 41. As the Thais say, cha cha… Thailand is slowly, slowly, re-opening its borders after the Covid-19 pandemic forced a total shutdown in March. Yesterday, the Kingdom welcomed its first tourists in 7 months, with the arrival of 41 Chinese tourists from Shanghai. The group landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on a chartered flight laid on by Spring Airlines, a low-cost Chinese carrier.

The visitors are here on the recently-launched Special Tourist Visa and upon touchdown, had to download a special app to track their movements while in Thailand. Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, also confirmed they will carry out 14 days’ quarantine, before they are free to travel around. The STV grants them a stay of up to 90 days and can be extended twice.

“Most of them planned to visit the beach and they already reserved hotel rooms.”

For anyone wishing to apply for the STV, your first port of call will be your local Thai Embassy and this website. Good luck!

Meanwhile, the southern island of Phuket had been expecting to welcome around 120 Chinese tourists on October 8, but that visit never materialised, with various reasons given for the delay. Some officials pointed to the island’s legendary vegetarian festival, which is currently underway, saying they did not want to deter domestic tourists who might be afraid of an increased risk of the virus from ‘tourists’. Others said it was simply because officials on the island wouldn’t have the manpower to deal with both events. And others still pointed to the small matter of nobody having applied to come.

The STV scheme appears to be finally up and running however, even if Phuket appears to have been left out of the picture for now. Yuthasak confirms another 147 Chinese tourists are scheduled to land at Suvarnabhumi on October 26, adding (very optimistically) that they’re expected to spend around 800,000 baht each while here.

Thai Airways has also confirmed it will bring 120 visitors from Shanghai to Bangkok on October 28. This group will consist of various categories, including tourists, repatriating Thais, and others arriving on ‘medical’ visas (people can apply to come to Thailand for various medical procedures).

In 2019, the Chinese made up the vast majority of foreign arrivals in the Kingdom, at around 10.99 million, just over a quarter of the total number of international tourists. Yuthasak is hopeful the return of international visitors is the beginning of the tourism sector’s recovery. It’s almost certain there’s a very long and winding road ahead.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Everyone flying in from another country test positive.very strange these 41 have not tested positive.whats going on at.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:25 am

      “they’re expected to spend around 800,000 baht each while here.”


      This has to be a big TYPO mistake!!

      These 41 Chinese STV arrivals and the other couple hundred or so that may travel to Thailand in the very near future will only stay about 30 days, with about half of that in quarantine, so how are they going to spend sn average of about 800,000 baht each?

      Inquiring Minds Want To Know !

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm

        No typo, a sarcasm directed at previous predictions by the authors of STV 😉

        • The Thaiger & The Nation

          The Thaiger & The Nation

          Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 5:58 pm

          How dare you accuse us of sarcasm (snigger)

      • Avatar

        Robert Elliot

        Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 9:34 pm

        Some will but Condos

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:17 am

    I would not be surprised if some are tested positive in a weeks time.
    The Thais will want to justify quarantine.
    They will claim, there you see, this is why we charge big prices for quarantine and insurance.

  3. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Yuthasak confirms another 147 Chinese tourists are scheduled to land at Suvarnabhumi on October 26, adding (very optimistically) that they’re expected to spend around 800,000 baht each while here.
    I dont know what does VERY OPTIMISTICALLY mean? 800,000 Baht for how long? It should be called Amazing Optimist, or Very optimistically ripped off. But, I am sure all tourists from China will be tested negative.

  4. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:35 am

    You really should make clear people in the photo are not the ‘tourists’ (nor are they the ones in photo in linked Post article) There is another article on the Posts site with actual photo of them before leaving china, suggest looking it up for a good laugh at the claims these are big spending ‘tourists’

  5. Avatar

    Bo Lindblad

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Big “spenders” arraving on a chineese lowcost carrier ??.

  6. Avatar

    Thai guy

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Every Chinese can replace thousands western poor backpackers
    For Thailand will enough 1-2 million wealthy Chinese
    Nice Job TAT

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      You speak the truth man! carrots in China are three meter long and the roads are covered in gold!

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Once I saw a wealthy chinese eating 1000 lunch, drinking 1000 beers, booking 1000 rooms, renting 1000 cars. He also visited The Grand Palace 1000 times in a day!

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:09 pm

      Yes ChiGuy, 1-2 million visitors from the wet markets, to stay at Chinese hotels and eat at Chinese restaurants, buy up Thai land and turn it into another province, like Cambodia, and block traffic with their festivals?

  7. Avatar

    Malc Thai

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    So the Chinese will come, buy up all the vacant properties and empty shops from the desperate thai people, they then rent them back to the thais and any monthly money they make they send back to China

  8. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Most Chinese are frugal. Stay in hotels – eat – and shop at Chinese businesses. Look at sihanoukville.
    The money doesn’t filter down to the Thai people.
    At the other end of the scale are the STV tourists. Super rich if they’re paying for quarantine. They will be holed up in the 5 star hotels, eat there and probably take their tours. Again, no money for the Thai restaurants and tour agencies.

  9. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Tourists are back, that’s what you wanted therefore all problems fixed. Now shut up and go back to work. Nothing to see here.

  10. Avatar

    PJ Kelly

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    This trickle of foreign tourists is not gonna move the needle. Until the quarantine is lifted, the tourism economy will be decimated. My guess is 2022. Thailand has no stomach for even a few Covid cases a day. That spells doom for the economy at large. Foreign investment will also be severely impacted.

  11. Avatar


    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    I would be surprised if any of the Chinese so called tourists tests positive. This first batch or any follow up ones. No doubt the higher ups in Beijing wouldn’t want that to be published even if it did happen. Bangkok knows which side of the bread gets the butter.

  12. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    These people are anything BUT tourists. One hugely important detail has been missing from all the news reports on this, on any media, not just The Thaiger. The Chinese simply don’t have 14 days extra holiday, let alone 30 days or 90 days.

    Their holidays are prescribed by the state and fall on the public festivals/holidays which usually last 1-2 weeks (hence, “the biggest travel holiday in China” that you read in the news on Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival). And another thing: It’s “use them or lose them” holidays. So one cannot say “Oh I’ll not take my National Day holiday October 1-7, because I wanna go to Thailand October 20”. Plus, any optional holiday/sick days don’t amount to more than 7 days, and a Chinese has to be working for the same company for quite a few years to get them.

    So these people are either business people (real estate/condo buyers, primarily), or prospective illegal workers who will do their 14-day quarantine and then “disappear” within Thailand working at Chinese-owned businesses. One can search how many of these “workers” Thailand was arresting before Covid.

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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