Thailand plans to offer visa-free entry for Chinese travellers to help speed up tourism recovery amid a huge decline in arrivals due to the covid-19 outbreak.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the number of arrivals from China plunged nearly 90% in the first week of February.
He said that trend will likely continue for the rest of February at least.
Thai tourism officials plan to push for the visa-free facility by the end of April if the outbreak is contained by then.
The Bank of Thailand says the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a decline in economic growth of about 2%.
However, visa-free status for the China market could significantly boost arrival numbers.
The tourism ministry believes it could get up to 1.5 million Chinese visitors a month by the summer if the outbreak is contained and there is a speedy recovery.
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