China STVs exempt from ban

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A man walks with his pet dog on a street in Shanghai on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

The Chinese government’s ban on outbound tour groups will not affect those who apply for a special tourism visa (STV), says a key official.

China decided to prolong the suspension of outbound and inbound tours this winter to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after authorities imposed travel restrictions since January.

“Tourists who apply for STVs can continue their journeys despite those bans, as the order is restricted to tour groups only,” said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

But the ministry will send a convincing message to Chinese officials once again about stringent health and safety measures for tourists under the STV scheme, aiming to assure them that tourists will not be exposed to virus risk while travelling in Thailand.

Mr Phiphat said locations for STV tourists are not confined to Bangkok. Guests can choose any province that hosts alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ), subject to flight availability.

Mr Phiphat’s remarks were in response to a report about Russian and European tourists who booked ALSQ hotels in Pattaya but were blocked from organising flights to Thailand after authorities told them they were only allowed to quarantine in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

Read the full article at Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2006819/china-stvs-exempt-from-ban

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