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Thailand residency visa program hit as COVID spooks Chinese

Social unrest and Beijing travel curbs weigh on kingdom's cash cow

Chinese visitors flock to Thailand's Grand Palace in 2019. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

BANGKOK -- After achieving two years of record growth, Thailand's long-term residency program, the "elite visa," is now stalling.

The program faces myriad challenges: COVID-19 cases keep surging to record highs, anti-government protesters are again taking to the streets, and the visa initiative's leader has resigned.

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