Thailand sees Chinese leading tourists to Phuket after reopening
03/30/2021|11:43:17 PM|Bloomberg

Thailand expects about two million foreign tourists, mostly Chinese and Europeans, to visit Phuket this year after the nation’s most popular resort island reopens to vaccinated visitors from July 1.

The holidaymakers may generate about 105 billion baht ($3.4 billion) in revenue in the second half, according to Vichit Prakobgosol, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand. It will be the first time in more than a year that the island allows visitors without the mandatory two-week quarantine.

Phuket’s plan to waive quarantine for inoculated visitors is part of a gradual reopening of borders by Thailand, where tourism contributed to about one-fifth of its pre-pandemic economy. A successful reopening of Phuket to foreign visitors, who used to contribute almost 90% of the island’s tourism receipts, may pave way for other popular destinations to end movement restrictions.

China, Russia, the U.K., Germany, France, Sweden and the U.S. are likely to be the key origins for tourists to Phuket, Vichit said. The Chinese, who were the biggest group of tourists to Thailand before the pandemic, are expected to return in July on chartered flights, while visitors from Europe will likely start arriving during the winter months, he said.

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