JAKARTA

Thailand will start allowing in foreign tourists from next week, authorities said on Friday.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand confirmed that the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme will proceed as planned.

The government launched the STV scheme as part of measures to revive the country’s economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and exports.

Thailand suspended international flights in April to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country has reported 3,575 infections so far, including 59 deaths and 3,384 recoveries.

“Despite the delay, the first group of tourists from China will arrive in Phuket within this month,” said Yutthasak Supasorn, head of the Tai tourism authority.

Some 120 tourists are expected to arrive in Thailand on a flight from China’s Guangzhou city on Oct. 8.

However, Thani Chuangchoo, director of Phuket International Airport, said the country’s civil aviation authority has not received any confirmation on chartered flights from China.

According to the airport’s flight schedule from Oct. 26 onwards, international commercial flights have not yet been approved, as the airport management is awaiting orders from Thailand’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

On Wednesday, Natthapon Nakpanich, head of the CCSA, said the special tourist visa scheme will first be introduced in Phuket and Samui.

“The first batch of foreign tourists is considered to be a low-risk group as there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Guangzhou recently,” he said.

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