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Chinese scramble for Thailand's new special tourist visa

Move seeks to draw wealthy foreigners to help COVID-hit economy

BANGKOK -- Limited flight availability has prompted hundreds of Chinese to apply for Thailand's newly introduced special tourist visas, seizing the opportunity to enter the kingdom to resume their business activities or gather with family members after a six-month separation.

Thailand formally rolled out the special visa in October, its first tourist visa after closing the borders since March to contain the spread of COVID-19. The new visas allow tourists from "low-risk" countries to enter Thailand for long stays of up to 270 days.

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