About a fifth of Thailand’s economy relies on tourism and, before the pandemic, it was one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting nearly 40 million visitors in 2019. People who depend on tourism for a living said that they were desperate for business and they were welcome. the prospect of foreigners returning.
“I am optimistic that by opening up the country, our economic situation will improve,” said Rujira Komonsing, a shoe store owner in Bangkok’s sprawling Chatuchak market. “I see that we have to live with Covid. The disease will not go away. “
The government is reopening now, in time for the next peak tourist season, even though it is struggling to contain a month-long outbreak. On Monday, 8,165 new cases were reported. But traders and workers in the tourism industry said starving was a greater risk than Covid.
“I’m not worried about the number of cases,” said Puncharee Wongraungaram, a pottery vendor in Chatuchak, once a popular tourist destination. “We cannot afford to close the country any longer. People have expenses to pay and they need to eat ”.
The list of 63 points of origin that Thailand has deemed low risk includes the United States, China, India, Southeast Asia and much of Europe.