Suvarnabhumi Airport comes to life on Monday as the first tourists begin to arrive, marking Thailand’s reopening to foreign visitors. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A positive atmosphere reigned on Monday as Thailand began welcoming vaccinated tourists arriving by air from 63 countries and all deemed to be at low risk of Covid-19, without quarantine.
The first flight to Suvarnabhumi Airport was All Nippon Airways flight NH 805 from Tokyo, with 11 foreigners and 32 Thai nationals on board. It was followed by Thai Airways International flight TG 931 departing Paris at 6 a.m.
Passengers underwent strict screening for Covid-19 by airport staff wearing PPE suits, who also checked their travel documents and provided assistance as needed.
Suvarnabhumi airport general manager Kittipong Kittikachorn said a total of 61 flights were due to arrive on Monday, most from Europe, with around 3,000 passengers, including 2,300 foreigners and the rest of Thai returnees. .
Mr Kittipong said he was happy with the process, the only problem being clutter at checkpoints where authorities also had to check passengers’ vaccination documents before allowing them to continue.
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said that between Monday and Friday, flights operated by 27 airlines would arrive and depart from Suvarnabhumi airport with a total of 15,230 passengers.
Suvarnabhumi and Phuket airports were the gateways for tourists on the day of the reopening.
“We are very, very happy,” Andre Winkler, 55, told AFP after he and his partner passed immigration to Suvarnabhumi.
“We stay in Thailand for six months every year during the winter because in Germany it is cold … The last time, before the crown, we came to Thailand, it was in 2019,” he said. he declares. “It’s been too long.”
In Phuket, Edelweiss was the first airline to land, carrying 229 tourists from Zurich and landing at 8 a.m. Phuket opened its doors to tourists as part of the sandbox program in July, but they were the first group to arrive as part of the reopening plan.
Susanne Peter, 57, said in Phuket that she and her partner would stay on the island for a week before leaving for Bangkok and Hua Hin.
“We love (Thai) people, they are really nice and really nice,” she told AFP, adding that this was their first trip since the start of the pandemic.
The government spokesperson said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is attending the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, UK, was closely following the first day of the country’s reopening.
The Prime Minister asked everyone to be good hosts and to strictly comply with health security measures, to ensure the revival of the economy and tourism, added the spokesperson.