BANGKOK, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- As one of the many tourism-reliant countries, Thailand is looking forward to the return of Chinese tourists following China's recent announcement of easing restrictions on international flights.
"We are very pleased to learn that China will implement new border control measures from Jan. 8 onward ... This is long-awaited good news for Thailand," Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told Xinhua on Saturday.
In 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for 28 percent of the nearly 40 million international tourists in Thailand.
Relevant ministries such as tourism, health and transport are expected to coordinate and prepare for the upcoming increase in Chinese visitors, he said.
According to the official data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, international arrivals in 2022 is expected to reach 11.5 million, exceeding the initial target of 10 million.
The target set for 2023 was to receive 20 million foreign visitors in Thailand, and the figure has been raised to 25 million following China's decision to ease COVID-19 measures, Phiphat said, adding that authorities are confident in achieving the new target.