Two direct flights from China landed in Chiang Mai and Phuket on Wednesday, for the first time in almost three years, bringing 377 tourists.
The two groups of visitors were given VIP welcomes upon their arrival, by senior officials from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and provincial and airport officials.
At Chiang Mai airport, Juneyao Air, which operates direct flights between Shanghai and Chiang Mai, arrived with 195 Chinese passengers.
Wichit Kaewsaitiam, director of Chiang Mai airport, said that that Chinese airlines have been granted permission to fly five routes into Chiang Mai.
They are Juneyao Air, operating the Shanghai-Chiang Mai-Shanghai route on a daily basis, Spring Airlines, operating the Guangzhou-Chiang Mai-Guangzhou route every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, Sichuan Airlines, operating the Chengdu-Chiang Mai-Chengdu route every Wednesday, Air China, operating the Beijing-Chiang Mai-Beijing route every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and China Eastern Airlines, operating the Shanghai-Chiang Mai-Shanghai route every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
He said that Spring Airlines have sought permission to operate another route, Shanghai-Chiang Mai-Shanghai, on a daily basis, adding that there are 11 additional direct flights from Singapore, Taipei, Luang Prabang, Da Nang, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Yangon and Incheon, which have been operational since 2019, but were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Phuket Province yesterday (Wednesday), Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, director of the TAT’s Phuket office, said that 182 Chinese tourists arrived on a direct Spring Airlines flight from Shanghai.
She disclosed that, in 2019, about 17 million tourists from China visited Thailand, including about three million visiting Phuket.
Tourists from China are required to take out US$10,000 health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay in Thailand plus seven days and must show negative COVID rapid antigen test results upon arrival.
China allowed its citizens to travel abroad again on January 8th.