Parts of Thailand including the capital Bangkok reopened Monday to fully vaccinated tourists from 63 countries and territories without quarantines in a bid to revive its tourism sector hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of international flights arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, with passengers from Japan being among the first groups to arrive. Several thousand foreigners entered Thailand on Monday.
Major tourist attractions in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country also reopened, including the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple, which were opened to the public for the first time in about six months.
Dhanabodi Kullohamongkong, a souvenir shop owner near the Grand Palace, resumed his business after almost two years during which the pandemic hit his income hard.
"I decided to reopen the shop today as I expect a better situation and more tourists to come. I strongly support the reopening as we have to earn a living while living with the pandemic longer than we were expecting."
To enter Thailand, foreign tourists must be fully inoculated and show proof they have tested negative for the virus before departing for the country and upon arrival. Also needed is a medical insurance policy that covers costs of at least $50,000.
Thailand's inbound international tourism stopped when the country shut its borders to foreign tourists in April last year due to the pandemic.
The tourism-related sector accounts for about 20 percent of Thailand's gross domestic product. Due to the pandemic, the number of foreign visitors fell sharply from 39.8 million in 2019 to around 6.7 million last year.
Trial reopening in the southern resort islands of Phuket and Samui, plus some smaller islands began in July.
Daily infections have recently hovered at around 9,000. Around 42 percent of the country's population have been fully vaccinated.