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Thai PM announces plan to boost Covid-crippled economy by reopening the country to visitors in 120 days
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has announced that Thailand will reopen to visitors within the next four months, as the nation seeks to find a way to lift an economy badly damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking during a nationally televised speech on Wednesday, the Thai leader set out the government’s ambition to revoke Covid travel restrictions that have lasted for more than a year, allowing tourists to return and revive the economy.
“Reopening the country is one of the important ways to start reducing the enormous suffering of people who have lost their ability to earn an income,” the PM said.
While the country of nearly 70 million people has only administered 4.6 million vaccine doses so far, Prayuth said that reopening to tourism was a “calculated risk”, but economically necessary.
Thailand’s economy is very tourist-reliant, and revenue in this sector has plunged by an estimated $50 billion, according to data cited by the Asian Development Bank, due to the country’s inability to welcome visitors amid the pandemic.