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Quarantine-free Thailand faces tourism hurdle: China's COVID rules

Long isolation upon return and other policies seen dampening prospects

Chinese tourists arrive in Bangkok on Nov. 1. While some may come, China's own strict rules look likely to put a damper on Thailand's tourism recovery for the time being.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Fully vaccinated visitors from dozens of countries can now enter Thailand quarantine-free, but the Southeast Asian nation's hopes for reviving its crucial tourism industry also hinge on policies at departure points -- especially China.

China accounted for 11 million, or more than a quarter, of the arrivals Thailand welcomed in 2019. But even though China is among the 60-plus countries and territories to which Thailand has thrown open its doors as of this month, travelers may not rush back anytime soon. Chinese are strongly discouraged from going overseas and face strict rules when they head home. Other Asian countries banking on tourism revivals, too, may have to temper their expectations.

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